Colombo Telegraph

Fr. Yogeswaran Harassed After Pillay Meeting

Officials from the Centre for Promotion and Protection of Human Rights working in Trincomalee said they had been harassed by military personnel, two days after UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay complained of reprisals against persons and organisations in the North and East who held discussions with her during her week long mission to Sri Lanka.

The Centre is run by Jesuit priests working with families of the disappeared in the East, the AFP news agency said. Representatives from the Centre had meetings with High Commissioner Pillay last week, AFP said.

Five or six policemen had visited Fr. Veerasan Yogeswaran who runs the Centre at midnight and early morning a few hours after he met with the UN Envoy, AFP said.

The priest said his concern was that security forces personnel were going to homes at midnight and questioning people, AFP reported.

Centre for Policy Alternatives Chief Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu told AFP he had travelled to the north where several persons had reported being visited by security forces personnel after their discussions with Pillay.

At her press briefing Pillay called the visitations by security forces personnel upon those who spoke with her, including two priests and journalists and civilians the most ‘disturbing aspects” of her visit. “The UN takes reprisals against those who speak with UN officials very seriously,” Pillay warned, saying she would be reporting the incidents to the UN Human Rights Council.

Pillay told journalists at her briefing that the Sri Lankan Government had denied the allegations of reprisals against those who spoke with her. “If I am met with flat denial, I have to believe what the community tells me,” the UN Envoy told journalists, asked how she authenticates such complaints.

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