News / Asia

UN Chief to Name Sri Lanka Rights Panel

A U.N. diplomat says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to name a three-member panel to advise him on alleged human rights violations during the last months of the Sri Lankan civil war.

The diplomat spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because the Colombo government had not yet been officially notified.  He said the panel will advise Mr. Ban on an accountability process pertaining to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has rejected calls for an international probe into possible war crimes committed during the country's war with the Tamil Tiger rebels.  The government has appointed a reconciliation panel to look into the conflict.

The 25-year war ended in May 2009 with the defeat of the rebels.  The U.N. says that between 80,000 and 100,000 people died during the conflict, and 7,000 Tamil civilians were killed in the final months of the war.

Last week, the U.N. undersecretary-general for political affairs, Lynn Pascoe, visited the island nation to discuss the issues with Sri Lankan officials.  Pascoe met with President Rajapaksa, and he visited ethnic Tamils in the north, who have been resettled following the war.

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