"There is a perception in the country about the lack of objectivity and fairness in the treatment meted out to Sri Lanka," GL Peiris told Pillay, who is here on a week-long fact-finding mission.

He said Sri Lanka "accepts constructive and justified criticism but resents vicious and baseless positions which are incessantly repeated."

Peiris dismissed what he termed as unjustified the attempt to single out Sri Lanka for unfair treatment. He emphasized the fact that many countries have been taken aback by the disproportionate focus on Sri Lanka.

"There has been prejudgement and we are disappointed," Peiris told Pillay who arrived here on Sunday for her first official visit after the government dropped its public hostility to her and promised access to the former war zones.

On the aspect of accountability which is a prime concern for Pillay, Peiris highlighted the government's actions. He cited examples of some members of the Special Task Force having been indicted in relation to the killing of five students in Trincomalee and status of investigations with regard to the incident involving French humanitarian workers.

On the allegations of disappearances, Peiris explained that the Ministry of Justice has formulated a draft amendment to the Penal Code to criminalize enforced disappearances. "The repeated use of baseless and arbitrary figures in respect of disappearances eventually acquires authenticity in the face of the massive propaganda that is being carried out against the government of Sri Lanka," he said.

Pillay is due to hold a meeting tomorrow with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had also criticised the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) of treating his country unfairly.

(Agencies)

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