An adjournment debate was held in Parliament yesterday regarding the statement made by the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner regarding Sri Lanka.
The proposal was tabled by Samagi Jana Balawegaya Parliamentarian Manusha Nanayakkara.
MP Nanayakkara said the allegations levelled against Sri Lanka by the Commissioner are matters related to the present administration and the government must take prompt measures to address them.
MP Nanayakkara said UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet raised concerns regarding the decision to impose a state of emergency citing it could further expand the role of the military in civilian functions.
He said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also raised concerns regarding surveillance, intimidation and alleged judicial harassment of human rights defenders, journalists and families of the disappeared while also pointing out the government’s action against students, academics, medical professionals and religious leaders critical of government policies.
MP Nanayakkara said the Human Rights Council was also informed that several peaceful protests and commemorations have been met with excessive use of force and the arrest or detention of demonstrators in quarantine centres.
He said all such incidents occurred under the watch of the present administration and therefore requested the government to immediately take action to address the matters.
Joining the debate, government MP Shantha Bandara said despite varying opinions, the opposition and the government must present a united front in matters involving the international community.
Parliamentarian Bandara said when going before the international community, all factions, be it the opposition or government, should go as one nation.
MP Bandara said if Sri Lanka’s name is tarnished or if the country loses its privileges, all Sri Lankans will have to face the consequences.
He said if those in the opposition returned to power, the country will have to deal with the consequences of the country’s image being tarnished.
MP Bandara said therefore everyone should fight as one regarding the human rights issues.
He said while the opposition can criticize the government, attempting to bring disrepute before the international community is unacceptable.