UN panel on human rights unwarranted: Sri Lanka

Last Updated: Monday, June 21, 2010 - 20:59

Colombo: The government has slammed the
decision of the UN to set up a panel of experts to advice the
Secretary General Ban-ki-Moon on human rights situation in Sri
Lanka, saying it was "unwarranted" since Colombo has already
formed a mechanism to address accountability issues.

"The proposed panel of experts was unwarranted since
Sri Lanka has already set in motion its local mechanism to
address accountability issues said Prof. G. L. Peiris, the
Minister of External Affairs.

Sri Lanka last month set up a `Lessons Learned and
Reconciliation Commission` to probe alleged human rights
abuses during the ethnic conflict, but has opposed the
establishment of an international tribunal.

Ban is expected to announce the names of experts for
an advisory panel that will counsel him on accountability
issues that arise with regards to alleged human rights abuses
that took place in the months leading to the Lankan military
defeating the LTTE in May 2009.

During talks last week with B.
Lynn Pascoe, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political
Affairs, Peiris expressed surprise over the need for an
external body to advise the Secretary General on human rights
issues in Sri Lanka.

The two-day visit of Pascoe last week was focused on
issues covered in the joint statement issued by United Nations
Secretary-General Ban Kid-moon and President Mahinda Rajapaksa
in May 2009, including political reconciliation, the return
and resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and
human rights.

The foreign minister told the top UN diplomat that
there was ample room within the UN system to get such
expertise, if the need arose.
Pascoe had told reporters on Thursday at the
conclusion of visit that the Secretary General would make an
announcement on the proposed panel in the next few days.

"I think there have been many misunderstandings down
through the times on what this advisory panel is really going
to do and what it`s going to..," Pascoe had said.

"There is really no cause for any great concern.
I think it will be very useful for the Secretary-General as
the process goes along.

And I hope should the Sri Lankan side decide it could also be
useful for them," the top UN official was quoted as saying by
the official website today.

The UN diplomat had met President Rajapaksa, Economic
Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary
Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Attorney General Mohan Peiris.

He visited areas around Mullaitivu town in the north,
close to where the last battles in the ethnic conflict were
waged in May 2009.

PTI



First Published: Monday, June 21, 2010 - 20:59

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