Sri Lanka rejects UN plan to form human rights panel

Last Updated: Sun, Mar 07, 2010 01:00 hrs

Sri Lanka has rejected the UN proposal to set up an advisory panel in the wake of alleged human rights abuse during the final phase of armed battle between the government forces and the LTTE rebels in the country.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the intention was 'unwarranted' and such move would be perceived as an 'interference' in Sri Lanka's internal matter.

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 prolonged military action against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the country's north.

The UN chief was told that Sri Lanka had concluded its armed conflict with the most ruthless terrorist organisation in the world, more than nine months ago, and was in the process of working towards further strengthening of national reconciliation, said a statement released by presidential secretariat here.

The implementation of such an intention would certainly be perceived as an interference with the current general election campaign being held in the country, the president told the UN chief on phone, adding that he would also write a letter to the world body in this regard.

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, as a measure of reconciliation, appointed a special committee to study the allegations of human rights violations and other charges reported by the US State Department, as well as the action by UN Rapporteur Philip Alston.

Rajapaksa also said that appointment of such a panel would compel Sri Lanka to take necessary action.

Sri Lanka looks forward to treatment as per the United Nations 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.

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