UN chief defends plan for Sri Lanka rights panel
Reuters – By Patrick Worsnip
UNITED NATIONS – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon dismissed on Tuesday objections by Sri Lanka to his plan to establish a panel to look into possible human rights abuses there and said he would set it up without delay.
Ban told a news conference he was within his rights to appoint the commission of experts to probe possible violations during Sri Lanka’s civil war despite a complaint from President Mahinda Rajapaksa this month that the move was unwarranted.
The UN chief also rejected as based on a “misunderstanding” a letter from non-aligned countries at the United Nations charging that he was exceeding his authority.
Rights groups and Western governments are pressing for some kind of accountability for thousands of civilian deaths in the last months of the island’s 25-year war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who aimed to create a separate homeland for the island’s Tamil minority.
Rights groups have accused Sri Lanka and the LTTE of war crimes during the conflict’s final phase last year and have demanded an independent probe, as has UN special rapporteur for extrajudicial executions Philip Alston.
Ban said the appointment of the UN panel accorded with a joint statement with Sri Lanka issued after he visited Sri Lanka just after the end of the war last May.
“The panel I am establishing will advise me on the standards, benchmarks and parameters based on international experience that must guide any accountability process such as the one mentioned in the joint statement,” he said.
“I am convinced that it is well within my power as the secretary-general of the United Nations to ask such a body to furnish me with advice of this nature,” he said, adding that the group would report to him directly.
“This does not in any way infringe on the sovereignty of Sri Lanka.”
A statement issued by Rajapaksa’s office on March 6 said the panel would be perceived as interference with the campaign for an April 8 general election and “would compel Sri Lanka to take necessary and appropriate action in that regard.”
Ban said that despite the Sri Lankan objection and the non-aligned countries’ letter there would be “no delay” in the establishment of the panel. He gave no further details of when it would be set up or who would serve on it.
The Sri Lankan government has denied charges of deliberately targeting civilians and other human rights breaches during the conflict with the Tigers.
Ban has come under pressure from critics who said that the timing of his visit, days after the end of the fighting, appeared to endorse the government’s victory.
© Copyright (c) Reuters
Mr. Moon you are nothing but a puppet of parties with vested interests. There is nothing right about what you are trying to do and the way you have set out to do it is destined to fail. The only outcome is that a lot of money would be wasted and you will be an extremely disliked person for the rest of your life. You will find that all the money you are earning by these dihonest means will be of no use and you will be a very unhappy man.
You can see only Sri lanka with your own eyes. It is very sad to say that you are completely blind with the war crimes against Palestine by Israel , war crimes against Iraq and Afganistan by US forces. We understand that you can stay in your power as long as you don’t put your nose with US.
Sri Lanka is free from terrorism now and the west is struggling to defeat terrorism. Actions by some countries have never been questioned. Can we now look beyond our rigid boundaries and take genuine actions to improve the relationship of all citizens of Sri Lanka in order to develop the country. Tamils/Sinhalese/Muslims and others who live in Sri Lanka are brothers and sisters of one nation. Let us try to keep it that way. However genuine the intentions are, digging of the past can only create suspicion and implant germs for unnecessary ugly division. As we know, only the nations supplying weapons will benefit from such a division.
What a clear message from Jayaratne. The Americans and the Israelis are the most cruel people in the world. They have been mistreating the muslims ever since the end of World War 2. The UN has had approximately 10 Secretary Generals in that period and none of them had the courage and the vision to raise a finger against the Americans and the Jews. The Americans genocided a whole generation of Vietnamese under the pretext of chasing communists. What was the UN doing at that time? The Americans went to war in Iraq totally disregarding UN resolutions. Mr K Annan went silent and now he is wagging his tail on the SL issue. The Sinhala Buddhist citizenry of Sri Lanka under the able leadership of HE Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only people in the world who eliminated a terrorist group who were bent on dividing our emerald isle into two. This is an undisputed fact. America, with all its might, has not succeeded in eliminating terror threats against its people. They are throwing massive resources in homeland security but they are unable to identify root causes and eliminate the security threat once and forever. The Sri Lankan sinhala buddhists correctly identified the Sun God as the source of terror; they sacrificed a large quantity of resources including valuable sinhala buddhist youth in eliminating terrorist tamils from the face of this earth. And now the sinhala buddhist citizens of Sri Lanka are being accused of violations. C’mon guys, its payback time for us; we have to develop our land to support the war widows, war orphans and the disbaled soldiers so that they can reach a bright future for which their husbands, parents and others sacrificed their lives.
Still mad guys existing inthis world
Take good spectacle to see how western countries doing bad to poor, as UN head ur not doing right to all.
Excellent comments by Dayaratne and Asela. The UN appears to be working on a hidden agenda. extension of the SG’s term is high on the list. Long live the Maharjjani. Where is Kohonna amidst all these happenings? Is he looking for a UN appointment?
Its very clear this man will do any laundry work for US to keep his job intact so he can feed his wife and kids
USA is always calling the shots. Not China or Russia. Ban Ki-Moon’s job and life is safe as long as he kow-tows to us imperialsim.
When are we going to have a UN and a Secretary General who are free of US influence?
So long as imperial West is biased against Sri Lanka for not toeing their line we are going to have censures from these bodies one way or another. UN is today being used by the imperial West for their own gain. It is under their control. Hence no matter what the free world says the rights of the free world will be trampled on by the imperial West who uses UN as a another tool in their armoury for imperial West progress.
I call for the sacking of Ban Ki-Moon through a no confidence vote by the General Assembly.
It seems to me that Mr Moon isn’t the right man in the right place.