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Aug 31, 2013 at 04:14pm IST

Sri Lankan government is becoming "increasingly authoritarian", says UN human rights chief

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay, on Saturday, criticised the Sri Lankan government, saying the country is becoming "increasingly authoritarian" despite the end of a civil war four years ago.

In a hard-hitting statement at the end of a week-long visit to assess the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, Pillay said she was "deeply concerned that Sri Lanka, despite the opportunity provided by the end of the war to construct a new vibrant all-embracing state, is showing signs of heading in an increasingly authoritarian direction."

"It is important everyone realises that although the fighting is over the suffering is not," Pillay told reporters.

Sri Lankan government is becoming "increasingly authoritarian", says UN human rights chief

Sri Lankan government is becoming ~~quot;increasingly authoritarian~~quot;, says UN human rights chief

Pillay said she was happy with the government's resettlement and infrastructure development efforts in the former battle zones.

"These are important achievements and I understand the government's concern that they have perhaps not been sufficiently recognised", She said.

Turning to what she termed the "disturbing aspect of the visit", Pillay said the people she met during her visit had been harassed or intimidated.

"This type of surveillance and harassment appears to be getting worse in SRO Lank which is a country where critical voices are quite often attacked or even permanently silenced".

She said the UN will take up the issue of reprisals against people because they have spoken to UN.

"The war may have ended but in the meantime democracy has been undermined and the rule of law eroded," she said adding that she regretted the personal attacks carried out against her by three ministers.

"They have claimed...I was the Tamil Tigress in the UN.

This is not only wildly incorrect, it is deeply offensive. This type of abuse has reached an extraordinary crescendo during the past week," Pillay said.