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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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