Director of the Media Centre rejects US embassy allegations
26th July 2014
The Director of the Media Centre of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya yesterday rejected the allegations made against the Sri Lankan Government by the US Embassy in Colombo and said it had exceeded its mandate as a foreign mission.
He was referring to the reports which quoted the US Embassy spokesperson having questioned the credibility of the Commission of Inquiry on disappearances and the recent appointment of an international advisory panel.
The embassy spokesperson had said there were, "numerous reports of widespread threats and intimidation by security forces against witnesses and potential witnesses to the Commission".
"If indeed the US Embassy was genuinely concerned regarding threats to witnesses, specific details of such incidents should have been submitted to the Government for a response. The sweeping allegations made by these officials therein, are baseless," Military spokesman Ruwan Wanigasuriya said.
He said the Government has asserted on many occasions that if reliable evidence was available in respect of any contravention of the law, the domestic legal process will be set in motion.
"In this context, the US is encouraged to share any specific and credible evidence it has with the Government regarding any issue of concern, which will then be duly investigated," Brigadier Wanigasuriya said.
He said it appeared to be an attempt to sensationalize issues rather than find answers to certain concerns that they may have on issues in the country.
"It was also reported that the spokesperson had expressed concerns on attacks against journalists and religious minorities, as well as the increasing impunity for illegal actions. Given the sensitivities involved in issues related to religious minorities which impacts on peaceful coexistence among communities in the country, the Government regrets the irresponsible comments by US Embassy," the Brigadier said.
He said regular dialogue continues to take place at various levels to ensure interfaith harmony and understanding amongst Sri Lanka's diverse populace in keeping with its societal, cultural and historical norms.
"It is therefore unfortunate that isolated, sporadic and media-sensationalised incidents have been misinterpreted as representative of an overall weakening of the rule of law and impunity for illegal actions," the Brigadier said adding that these routine law and order issues are similar to those faced by many other countries, including the US and are not endemic to Sri Lanka.
"The process of reconciliation cannot be a response to the concerns of a particular community. Rather, it should be one that is acceptable to all Sri Lankans regardless of their ethnicity or affiliation. Sri Lanka rejects these baseless statements and repeated attempts to malign Sri Lanka's security forces. It is unfortunate to note that perceptions of the US Embassy on reconciliation in Sri Lanka seem to be fashioned on the interests of pro-LTTE diaspora and likeminded elements within the country. Such perceptions ignore the ground realities as well as the tremendous progress that has been made in Sri Lanka in recent years," Brigadier Wanigasuriya said.