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Last updated: 10 April, 2011 - Published 13:03 GMT
 
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US accused of 'politicising' rights report
 
Prof Rajiv Wijesinha
Prof Wijesinha admits that torture is 'still being committed' in Sri Lanka
The Sri Lanka government has accused the US State Department of "Tamilisation" of its annual report on the island's human rights.

Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, a ruling party MP, who admitted that human rights violations are 'still being committed' in Sri Lanka, told BBC Sandeshaya that human rights violations are committed in "each and every country."

"The problem is that the US has tried to Tamilise the report. But when you read it most of the names of victims are Sinhala nationals," he said.

"I think there has been an attempt by the US to politicise the report."

Torture

Prof Wijesinha, former Secretary to the Ministry of Human Rights, also admitted that torture is 'still being committed'.

 I think there has been an attempt by the US to politicise the report
 
Prof Rajiva Wijesinha

But most of those violations are committed in the south, he added.

The Ministry of Human Rights was scrapped by President Mahinda Rajapaksa following his re election in January 2010.

"Yes there are incidents of torture, we ourselves have admitted that but yes there are cases we could not investigate especially in the north and the east due to the conflict," Prof. Wijesinghe told BBC Sinhala service.

The national list MP, however, categorically rejected the accusation in the report that the executive influenced the judiciary.

The inability of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (SLHRC) use its wide powers to pursue human rights abuses is another serious concern raised by the report.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (L) and Basil Rajapaksa, MP, with the Chief Justice Asoka de Silva
'One brother is the one who received the most preferential votes in the country. It is wrong for them to suggest that our voters are fools'

“Rather than taking an investigative approach to determining the facts and details of human rights cases, the SLHRC instead took a more tribunal-like approach, weighing only the evidence brought to it in deciding whether to pursue a case,” it said.

The State Department has also accused the government in Sri Lanka being dominated by the Rajapaksa family led by the executive, despite being a multi-party democracy.

Prof Wijesinha dismissed the accusation as a "silly statement."

"One brother is the one who received the most preferential votes in the country. It is wrong for them to suggest that our voters are fools," he said.

"Two of the brothers are elected by the people and everybody accepts that the defence secretary has done a yeoman service."

 
 
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