London: The head of the UN panel named to look into alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka has described the country's decision to block its entry as "most unfortunate" and said "it will make it harder for the truth to be unearthed".
Marzuki Darusman, a former Indonesian attorney general, who has been appointed head of the three-member panel by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, told BBC, "Everybody loses out if we cannot go to Sri Lanka, it will make it harder for the truth to be unearthed."
His comments came after Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris had announced that Colombo will not issue visas to the members of the panel to enter into the country.
"The panel is totally unnecessary, after Sri Lanka had announced formation of its own commission to bring about national reconciliation," the minister said.
BBC quoting media reports said that Lankan government wants to fend off international concern over its conduct of the war against the Tamil Tigers in the last phase by launching its own internal enquiry.
"The exact term of reference of the Sri Lankan commission are not clear," BBC said, adding that international bodies are sceptical about ability of the government to investigate claims impartially.
It said that international bodies are demanding an independent investigation.
Meanwhile, the US which is pushing for a war crime probe has asked the Sri Lankan government to "take advantage" of the opportunity and accept an offer of a UN team that is probing alleged human rights abuses in the final months of the war with LTTE.
First Published: Friday, June 25, 2010, 14:41