News / Asia

Sri Lanka Slams UN Rights Panel

Sri Lanka has slammed the creation of a panel by the United Nations to advise on alleged human rights violations in the country during the final stages of the civil war, which ended last year.   

Sri Lankan government spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwella calls the creation of the three-member panel by the United Nations "totally unacceptable".

The panel, appointed Tuesday, will advise the U.N. Secretary-General on whether human rights violations took place during the civil war that ended last year with the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels.

The United Nations says more than 7,000 civilians died in the final stages of the war.  Human rights groups have blamed the rebels and the military for these deaths.

Sri Lanka names own panel

Rambukwella says it is regrettable the United Nations has appointed an advisory panel at a time when the Sri Lankan president has established a commission to investigate such allegations.    

"It is highly unwarranted for an outside organization on their own to make assessments and make enquiries, and make investigations," he said. "We are very unhappy about it.  We are a sovereign nation.  We do not like anybody from outside trying to infringe into our sovereignty."  

Human rights activists charge Sri Lanka is not serious about investigating wartime abuses, and pressure has been mounting on the government to conduct an independent probe into these allegations.

EU warning

Tuesday, the European Union warned Sri Lanka will lose its preferential trade status unless it commits to improving its human rights record.

But Sri Lanka sees the mounting pressure on the issue of war crimes in a different light.

Rambukwella fears that sympathizers of the former Tamil Tigers, also known as the LTTE, could benefit from it.  Although the Tamil Tigers have been wiped out, the government remains wary about efforts by Tamil groups overseas to revive the guerrilla movement.

"It could also be part of the activities of the diaspora which is operative outside Sri Lanka in order to regenerate LTTE activities here," Rambukwella said.

The head of the recently appointed U.N. panel, former Indonesian attorney general Marzuki Darusman is familiar with Sri Lanka.  He was part of an international team appointed to observe a Sri Lankan government commission on atrocities, but resigned in 2008 saying the commission did not meet basic minimum standards.  

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years 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.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs