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'We need Prevention of Terrorism Act' says Sri Lankan government minister

Sri Lanka's Minister of Rehabilitation and Resettlement M.L.A.M. Hizbullah said the government should continue to enforce the much criticised Prevention of Terrorism Act, in an interview with Ceylon Today.

"I think it is best not to remove the PTA," said Mr Hizbullah. "Even though there is no war, and there is peace, but with the international situation I don't think the PTA must be removed immediately, security wise."

His comments in the interview came just before a UN team visiting the island, called for the abolition of the act, which has faced widespread criticism from international human rights groups. The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances also confirmed their finding of secret torture camps in Sri Lanka, with unknown numbers of Tamils still held in detention across the island.

The minister however, pointed to the Paris attacks as justification for the continued enforcement of the draconian act.

"If something happens, like France," said Mr Hizbullah. "We had a war, we have the experience. Later we can think about it. In an emergency we will need this Act.

When asked if he thought terrorists acts still posed a threat to Sri Lanka, the minister however replied that it was not the case. "No. But we can't exactly say," he added. "Anything can happen, better to wait for some time."