Sri Lanka rejects UN plan to form human rights panel (Lead)
Colombo, March 7 (IANS) Sri Lanka has rejected a UN proposal to set up an advisory panel in the wake of alleged human rights abuses during the final phase of the war between government forces and the Tamil Tigers.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the UN move was “unwarranted” and would be perceived as “interference” in Sri Lanka’s internal matters.
In a telephonic conversation with the secretary-general Friday, the president said: “It was unprecedented and unwarranted as no such action had been taken against other states with continuing armed conflicts, involving major humanitarian catastrophes and causing deaths of large number of civilians.”
Rajapaksa was responding to Ban’s letter dated Feb 25 in which he had proposed to form an independent panel on the basis of allegations of human rights violations during the military action against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) last year.
After months of fighting, the LTTE was military crushed in May, leaving thousands dead and ending one of the most protracted separatist campaigns.
The UN chief was told that Sri Lanka had concluded its conflict with the world’s most ruthless terrorist organisation more than nine months ago and was in the process of working out national reconciliation, a statement by the presidential secretariat said.
The UN move would be perceived as interference in the current election campaign in the country, the president told the UN chief, adding he would also write a letter to the world body.
Rajapaksa said that the allegations about human rights violations were motivated misrepresentations by the LTTE sympathasisers and some organisations working on agenda that was directed against Sri Lanka.
The president informed the UN that he had already appointed a special committee to study the allegations of human rights violations and other charges reported by the US State Department.
Rajapaksa warned that appointment of a UN panel would compel Sri Lanka to take “necessary action”.
Sri Lanka looks forward to treatment as per the UN charter that provides for equal treatment to all members of the UN while respecting the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of states, he said.
–Indo-Asian News Service
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