News / Asia

EU, US Condemn Sri Lankan Protests Against UN

The European Union and nine other countries, including the United States, are warning Sri Lanka that protests against a United Nations war crimes panel could harm the island nation's reputation around the world.

In a joint statement Friday, the nations, including the Sri Lankan-based missions of Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Romania, and Norway, said peaceful protest is a part of democracy, but blocking access to the U.N. and intimidating U.N. personnel is a breach of international norms.

On Tuesday, demonstrators, led by nationalist Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa, besieged the U.N. compound in Colombo, trapping staff inside for several hours.

On Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recalled the top U.N. official in Sri Lanka and shut down the U.N. Development Program's regional office in the capital due to the protests.  Essential staff were still working at the U.N. office on Friday.

Last month, the U.N. chief appointed a panel to look into whether human rights abuses were committed during the final months of Sri Lanka's war against Tamil Tiger Rebels. Sri Lanka says the international probe is a violation of its sovereignty. The U.N. says it has no plans to scrap the panel.

Protests continued for a fourth day outside the U.N. office in Colombo Friday. Demonstrators marched to the Russian embassy to seek Moscow's support in quashing the U.N. probe. Russia has criticized the panel.

Housing Minister Weerawansa continued his hunger strike Friday and submitted his resignation, which was rejected by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. Weerawansa said he wants to step down so his actions do not "embarrass the government."  The minister says he is prepared to fast to death to stop a U.N. plan to "hunt down Sri Lanka's soldiers."

Sri Lanka denies any war crimes were committed in the military operation, which resulted in the defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels in May of 2009.  The government has appointed its own commission to examine the conflict.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid