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News


Minister cites personal reasons for two members quitting commission probing HR abuses

Two members of the Commission of Inquiries looking into 15 cases of human rights abuses and killings are to be relieved of their duties with immediate effect, The Nation learns.
Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said yesterday Upawansa Yapa and K.C. Logeswaran are the two to be relieved of their membership in the Commission.
“Upawansa Yapa had asked to be relieved of his responsibilities citing health reasons. His prevailing ill health bars him from attending to the responsibilities required of him by the Commission,” the Minister said.
On the other hand, Logeswaran expects to leave for the United States to attend to personal matters and hopes to remain there for about a month. Hence, he has decided to resign in order not to interfere with the progress of the Commission’s work.
“Although he can return and rejoin, the Commission will not be able to commence sessions in his absence. Therefore, the best course of action would be to relieve him of his responsibilities,” Samarasinghe added. Elaborating, the Minister said due to a certain clause in the regulations, the Commission cannot meet if all the members are not present. Therefore, the Commission would not be able to meet until Logeswaran returns from the US.
Also, the Minister stressed that the reason for the two members’ resigning was not political but purely personal.
In the mean time, Samarasinghe said no new appointments have been made yet, but they are on the look out for the most suitable candidates. “We will embark on that step as soon as possible since we want the Commission to continue its activities without interference,” he said.
He also said that once the new members are appointed the Commission would look at the possibility of amending the Act. “We will try to amend the Act, so that the Commission can meet even if members are absent. If the quorum is at least five members then the Commission should be able to go ahead with its activities,” he added. (VA)