Colombo bans BBC from covering LLRC hearings

[TamilNet, Saturday, 18 September 2010, 15:20 GMT]
While the forthcoming hearings by Sri Lanka's Lesson and Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) at the former LTTE stronghold Ki'linochchi and Mullaiththeevu are to be held in public, BBC has been "blocked from covering the public hearing," BBC said Friday. "A senior defence ministry official said he could not allow the BBC to attend the sittings, due to start on Saturday....The military liaison officer declined to give any reasons," BBC said in its report.

"In August, the BBC attended panel hearings in an unrestricted part of the north but was not allowed to attend its meetings in camps with refugees and suspected former rebels.

"Sri Lankan government officials regularly accuse journalists, both foreign and domestic, of bias against the administration," BBC added.

Criticizing the announced mandate of the LLRC, Philip Alston, former UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, said in June 2010, "There is not a single mention of “human rights," “humanitarian law," “violations," “war crimes," or any comparable term.

"The mandate accorded by the Government very carefully avoids any of these issues. Instead, the President has indicated that the Commission should look forward, which is generally a way of saying that past violations should be ignored. Consistent with this he has spoken of restorative justice designed to further strengthen national amity, which is another way of making the same point. Even if the mandate were to be changed, the question would then be whether the commission meets international standards for a credible inquiry into alleged human rights violations,” Alston said.


Chronology:


External Links:
BBC: Sri Lanka bans BBC from covering civil war hearings

 

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