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The Diaspora who honour the LTTE should know that there should be no place for the glorification of such a ruthless organisation, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said today.

Speaking at a press conference in Colombo, Pillay added that calls for an international inquiry are likely to continue unless there is a credible national process to investigate what happened at the end of the war in Sri Lanka.

She also hit out against the government, saying that four years after the end of the war people were still suffering amid signs the country was headed in an authoritarian direction.

“It is important everyone realise that although the fighting is over, the suffering is not,” Pillay told a news conference at the end of a controversial fact-finding mission to assess Sri Lanka’s progress after the 26-year war.

“I’m 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.”

Pillay visited the former northern war zones in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and the eastern district of Trincomalee, and met leaders in the capital of Colombo.

The visit has sparked demonstrations for and against her mission.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa told her on Friday that his people believed the UN is a biased organisation, and a report she was due to release next month had already prejudged the country.

Pillay further said that President Rajapaksa had apologised to her, for the “deeply offensive remarks” made against her by some ministers and others.

Navanethem Pillay said the president apologised when she had said that such “wildly incorrect and deeply offensive” statements were never made in any of the 60 countries she had previously visited as UNHCHR.

She said that three ministers and various propagandists had, on the basis of her Indian Tamil heritage, described her as a “tool of the LTTE”, and as a “Tamil Tigress in the UN”. These people had really “gone over the top”, Pillay said.

Portraying herself as impartial, she described the LTTE as a “murderous organisation” and recalled that she had visited Lanka in 2000 to pay homage to Dr Neelan Tiruchelvan, assassinated by the LTTE in 1999.

She pointed out that in every UN statement it had been said that crimes by both the government and the LTTE should be credibly investigated and had offered her office’s support for the probe.

Pillay said that she would “closely examine” the government’s report on the implementation of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and report to the UNHRC.

On the issue of the militarisation of the administration of the Tamil-speaking North, Pillay said that the involvement of the military was much greater than needed, and that people saw it as “oppressive and intrusive.”

She also called for a Right to Information Act; the restoration of the Independent Commissions to oversee the work of key government institutions; and devolution of power.