Japan supports UN panel on rights abuses claims in Lanka

Japan supported the formation of a UN panel to advice Secretary General Ban on alleged rights abuses during Sri Lanka`s ethnic war.

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

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.


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