Sri Lankan minister criticizes UN human rights chief

COLOMBO (TIP): A Sri Lankan cabinet minister has questioned the impartiality of visiting United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay, accusing her of supporting ethnic Tamil separatists because of her own Tamil background. Pillay is a South African of Indian Tamil origin. She is visiting Sri Lanka to review its progress in investigating alleged abuses during a civil war between government troops and Tamil rebels. Housing minister Wimal Weerawansa said Pillay would prepare an “extremist and unjust report” that is unfair to Sri Lanka because of her ethnicity. He accused Pillay of holding secret meetings with activist groups outside her official schedule. Pillay’s spokesman said she is conducting her mission as she would in any country. Pillay is to present her findings to the UN Human Rights Council next month.

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