Monday, June 21, 2010

Japan says UN panel should 'not interfere' with Sri Lanka's probe into alleged rights abuses

A planned U.N.'s panel look into alleged rights abuses committed during Sri Lanka's quarter-century civil war should not interfere with the government's internal investigation, a Japanese envoy said Sunday.

A U.N. panel to be announced next week will advise Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "on the way forward on accountability issues" related to Sri Lanka's conflict that killed more than 80,000 people.

Both government forces and the Tiger Tamil rebels have been accused of committing human rights abuses.

The civil war ended in May 2009 when government forces crushed the rebels who had fought for a separate state in the north for ethnic minority Tamils, claiming decades of discrimination by the Sinhalese majority.

Sri Lanka strongly opposes the U.N. panel's formation, with President Mahinda Rajapaksa in March calling it "totally uncalled for and unwarranted."

Rajapaksa last month appointed the "Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission" to investigate alleged human rights abuses during the war, but officials have refused calls to establish an international tribunal.

Japanese envoy Yasushi Akashi, who concluded a six-day visit to the island Sunday, said the U.N. panel would be useful as it could provide "insights" into the conflict. However, he said it "should not interfere with Sri Lanka's commission, but offer ideas and suggestions, if needed."

Sri Lanka has faced growing international criticism for not examining abuses allegedly committed during the last phase of the war. According to U.N. documents, more than 7,000 civilians died in the last five months of the conflict. Rights groups say they have photographic and video evidence and have called for war crime investigations.

Government troops were accused of shelling a small strip of land where hundreds of thousands of people were boxed-in during the war's final stages. The rebels were accused of killing noncombatants trying to leave the area they controlled and firing artillery from civilian-populated regions that led to retaliatory military fire.

Rajapaksa denied Friday that civilians were targeted during military operations.

© The Canadian Press

Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment

© 2009 - 2014 Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  © Blogger template 'Fly Away' by 2008

Back to TOP