At the core of the discussions on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva is the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission which clearly calls for the upholding of democratic rights, including freedom of expression. The National Peace Council, in a statement today, said that the campaign to vilify and incite hatred towards NGOs and human rights activists in the context of the sessions of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva is of particular concern as it involves the use of the state controlled media. The National Peace Council said it regrets that even while the government is trying to convince the international community that it is committed in both spirit and substance to the recommendations of the LLRC and to upholding universal human rights, certain sections persist in intimidation of the NGOs and human rights activists using the state media.“We are deeply concerned that the background is being created for targeted attacks and that the state-controlled media is being utilized for this purpose in an orchestrated campaign. Incitement of the people is a reckless exercise which may spill over to mindless violence against minorities and those perceived to be enemies which the government may find difficult to restrain once unleashed as in 1983,” the National Peace Council said. Concerns have been raised over a hate campaign launched by the state media against some journalists in the private media as well as human rights workers and NGOs in the country.State owned ITN has, for the past few days, been profiling some journalists and human rights activists saying they are working against the country.
The Southern Provincial Council member however denied making the comments.The Colombo Chief Magistrate had later issued an order preventing D V Upul from leaving the country till investigations over his alleged comments are over. The police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) recorded a statement from Southern Provincial Council member D V Upul over an alleged threat he had made to the Financial Crime Investigation Division (FCID).Upul had reportedly said that if former President Mahinda Rajapaksa returns to power the public must attack the FCID.