Top minister demands VOA quit SL after UN vote
Last Updated: Friday, March 23, 2012, 22:07
Colombo: Hitting out at the US for sponsoring the UNHRC resolution that slammed Sri Lanka for alleged human rights abuses, a top Lankan minister on Friday demanded the shutting down of the VOA station in the country which was being used for "intelligence gathering".

"I demand that we shut down the Voice of America (VOA) station if the US continued in their action to harass us with hostile acts," said Minister of Construction Wimal Weerawansa, who is also the leader of National Freedom Front, a constituent party of the ruling coalition.

"VOA get out of Sri Lanka. They use this station for intelligence gathering," he told a rally in the central town of Kandy.

The Voice of America expanded their operations in Sri Lanka with the commissioning of a re-broadcasting facility at the north-western coastal region of Iranawila in 1999.

The NFF leader last week called for the boycott of US brand names including Coca Cola, Pepsi, McDonalds, KFC, Google and Gmail but the government later said it was the minister's personal view and was not backed by the cabinet.

Slamming the US-sponsored resolution adopted yesterday by the 47-member UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Sri Lanka said it had countered the cardinal principle of international law.

With 24 votes for, 15 against and 8 abstentions, the UNHRC adopted the resolution which noted with concern that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), an internal inquiry report in Sri Lanka, does not adequately address "serious allegations" of violations of international law during the final stages of the ethnic conflict between the Sri Lankan forces and the LTTE.

The UN resolution seeks to bind Colombo to implement the recommendations of its own reconciliation commission and to seek technical assistance from the UN Human Rights Commissioner to ensure accountability over rights allegations.

It also asked Colombo to present as expeditiously as possible a comprehensive action plan detailing the steps to implement the recommendations of LLRC and to address the alleged violations of international law.

India did not participate in the debate yesterday but voted for the US-sponsored resolution censuring Sri Lanka along with countries like Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay and the US.

Many of India's neighbours, including China, Bangladesh and Maldives, and Russia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia were among the countries that voted against the resolution


First Published: Friday, March 23, 2012, 22:07

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