A briefing by a government delegation at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) saw a heated exchange of words between the Ministerial team and NGOs who raised concerns of human rights violations in Sri Lanka, sources who attended the session told the Daily Mirror.
Leading NGOs including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and a BBC UN Correspondent questioned the government`s human rights record, the activities of paramilitary groups and the need for an international human rights monitoring mechanism.
The government delegation headed by Attorney General C.R. De Silva included Ministers Mahinda Samarasinghe, Douglas Devananda, Keheliya Rambukwella, Athauda Seneviratne, President`s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and Ambassador Dayan Jayatilake.
The flare-up erupted on Friday when Tamil Human Rights Centre General Secretary S.V. Kirubaharan raised concerns over the responses by the government delegation to the concerns raised.
In response Ministers Kheliya Rambukwella, Douglas Devananda and Seneviratne flared up and engaged in a heated argument which was witnessed by many members of civil society organizations and government delegations at the session, sources added.
Human Rights activist Fr. S.J. Emmanuel also raised concerns over the recent expulsions in Colombo of some Tamils living in lodges and the report of the International Independent Eminent Persons` Group. His questions were answered by Attorney General De Silva and Minister of Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe.