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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid