Move to appoint a UN panel on rights unwarranted: Lanka

Last Updated: Saturday, March 6, 2010 - 18:05

Colombo: Terming as "unwarranted", the
UN`s move to set up an expert panel on alleged human rights
violations in Sri Lanka, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said his
nation opposes the proposal.

"The intention of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
to appoint a panel of experts to advice him on Sri Lanka is
totally uncalled for and unwarranted," Rajapaksa said.

Reacting sharply to the proposed move, Rajapaksa said,
such an intention "would certainly be perceived as an
interference" with the country in the process of holding an
island wide general elections.

The reaction by the presidential office came following
a statement by the UN that Secretary General Ban-Ki-moon is to set
up an experts panel to advise him `on the way forward on
accountability issues` stemming from alleged human rights
violations in Sri Lanka during the conflict between the
government forces and the LTTE last year.

UN chief spokesperson Martin Nesirky said, Ban spoke
on telephone with Rajapaksa on Thursday evening and informed
him of his intention to go ahead with the establishment of a
`Panel of Experts`.

"He also explained that such a panel would advise him
(Ban) on the way forward on accountability issues related to
Sri Lanka," Nesirky stressed.

The Sri Lankan statement warned that appointment of
such a panel as intended, would compel Sri Lanka to take
necessary and appropriate action in that regard, but did not
elaborate.

"The president stressed that Sri Lanka looked forward
to treatment as per the UN Charter that provides for equal
treatment to all members of the UN, while respecting the
principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of
states," it said.

The president also told Moon that he would shortly
be addressing a letter to the UN secretary general, further to
this telephonic discussion.

"Rajapaksa said it was both unprecedented and
unwarranted as no such action had been taken about other
states with continuing armed conflicts on a large scale,
involving major humanitarian catastrophes and causing the
deaths of large numbers of civilians due to military action,"
it said.

Ban was told that Sri Lanka had concluded its armed
conflict with the "most ruthless terrorist organisation in the
world," more than nine months ago.

Rajapaksa said the Sri Lankan government was in
process of working towards further strengthening of national
reconciliation.

Rajapaksa also said that the implementation of such an
intention would certainly be perceived as an interference with
the current general election campaign being held island wide,
the statement said.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, March 6, 2010 - 18:05

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