Japan supports UN panel on rights abuses claims in Lanka
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Last Updated: Sunday, June 20, 2010, 18:28
Colombo: Japan Sunday supported the formation of a UN panel to advice Secretary General Ban on alleged rights abuses during Sri Lanka's ethnic war, saying it could offer insight and experience to the government.

"It (the UN) could provide experiences and insights. The purpose of it is not to interfere with Sri Lanka's own panel, but to offer ideas and suggestions if needed," Japanese special envoy Yasushi Akashi said today, referring to a separate commission appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

"The perception gap should be breached as soon as possible and the attitude should not only to be about criticising and condemning but to also enforce a better comprehension about the challenges that Sri Lanka is facing," said Akashi, whose country is a major donor to Sri Lanka.

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

Akashi, who ended his 6-day visit to the country today, also expressed optimism of a positive change in post war Sri Lanka, saying there was an opportunity for national and ethnic reconciliation.

For the past few months, the UN chief has been in the process of setting up an advisory panel to counsel him on accountability issues that arise with regards to alleged human rights abuses that took place in the months leading to the government defeating the LTTE in May 2009.

Sri Lanka strongly opposes the UN panel's formation, with President Rajapaksa calling it "totally uncalled for and unwarranted."

Speaking to reporters, Akashi said that the UN panel should not interfere in Sri Lanka but only offer advice and suggestions in consultation with the government, the Daily Mirror online reported.

He also underlined the need to keep the Tamil diaspora updated on the developments in the mother country.

"I wish that the Tamil diaspora could receive direct reliable information about what is taking place in the country and if more Tamil diaspora living aboard could visit Sri Lanka they would be able to see what the government has achieved so far although there is much more to be done," said Akashi, who ended his 20th visit to the country.

The Japanese diplomat also said the public life in the north was positively returning to normalcy.

People in the north live in contentment without fear or suspicion, he observed, adding he personally witnessed the living condition of the public in the north during his recent visit to Kilinochchi.

The government has taken many measures to enhance the living standard of the people in the north, he said, as he welcomed its decision to setup a commission of reconciliation.


First Published: Sunday, June 20, 2010, 18:28

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