The UNP will make representations to Inter-Parliamentary Union, Commonwealth as well House of Commons next week regarding harassment of Opposition MPs at the hands of the Rajapaksa administration, a party MP said.
The UNP will brief them of what Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena, MP, Assistant Secretary in charge of Relief and Human Rights, called ``rapidly deteriorating democratic values in Sri Lanka.’’
Speaking to The Sunday Island, Jayawardena said that UNP would not succumb to government pressure but raise contentious issues internationally, thereby embarrassing the government. He said that denial of an opportunity to Opposition MPs to visit so-called welfare villagers which were nothing more than detention facilities was an infringement of their rights.
Responding to our queries, he said that now that a group of Indian lawmakers had been allowed to visit Vavuniya camps, they, too, should be permitted to meet civilians held against their wishes.
"But, we aren’t allowed to proceed beyond Vavuniya," he said adding that this would one of the major issues he intended to raise during his visits to Geneva and London.
He said that UN and many other senior representatives of foreign governments as well as organizations had been given access though Opposition MPs could not proceed beyond Medawachchiya.
The MP said that he had sought meetings with UNHCR, UNHRC, ICRC, WHO, Article 19, IOM and the Amnesty International during his week long stay in Geneva and London when he would be part of a parliamentary delegation which would represent Sri Lanka at the forthcoming General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Ministerial sources told The Sunday Island that the likes of Dr. Jayawardena were seeking to encourage foreign interference on what was purely a security issue.
He could not be blind to the threat posed by hardcore LTTE cadres still taking cover among the civilians, sources said emphasizing the government would not take popular decisions at the expense of security considerations.