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
“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)