Rajapaksa for `show of strength` against UN panel report

Last Updated: Monday, April 18, 2011 - 22:54

Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda
Rajapaksa has called for turning May Day worker rallies in his
country into a massive "show of strength" against a UN panel`s
report that reportedly holds the government responsible for
war crimes during the offensive against LTTE.

Rajapaksa, who departed this morning on an official
visit to Bangladesh, said Sri Lankans needed to rally against
the UN special panel`s report and that the International
Labour Day was the time to do so.

"The time has come to show our strength and this
should not be confined to expressing worker solidarity but to
demonstrate against injustice done to the country before the
world," said a statement from the President.

"I am prepared to face any punishment on behalf of the
motherland with great honour", the President was quoted as
saying.

The presidential statement was in response to the
three-member UN panel`s report that called for setting up of
an "independent international mechanism" into what it called
"credible" allegations that Sri Lankan military committed war
crimes in its final decisive offensive against Tamil Tigers.

The panel, appointed by UN chief Ban ki-Moon submitted
its report last week without making it public. But leaked
excerpts were published here in the media.

The report in addition to its call for an independent
international mechanism, seeks an acknowledgement of
government`s role and responsibility for extensive civilian
casualties.

The government has dismissed the report as flawed and
biased.

Senior minister Maithripala Sirisena called on the
public to unite to protest the UN panel report.

"These forces were trying to discredit the president
and soldiers in trying to make them answer for war crimes," he
said.

But, the main Tamil party lauded the recommendations
of the report.

Responding to the leaked contents, the Tamil National
Alliance said in a statement that they welcomed the
recommendations made by the panel and trusts that they will be
"honestly implemented".

"The panel has recommended certain measures which as a
whole, it hopes will serve as a framework for an ongoing and
constructive engagement between the Secretary General and the
government of Sri Lanka on accountability," the statement
said.

PTI



First Published: Monday, April 18, 2011 - 22:54

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