06/23/2010, 00.00
SRI LANKA-UN
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Colombo attacks creation of UN group to investigate human rights violations

The decision taken yesterday by Ban Ki-moon today raised the government's harsh response. It denies that the military violated rights and disputes the composition of the panel of experts.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - The Sri Lanka government has reacted harshly to the decision of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to create a group of experts to investigate violations of human rights during the long years of civil war, which began in 1972 and officially ended in 2009.

Today, the government spokesman in Colombo, Keheliya Rambukwella, has accused the UN of pursuing "an attempt to give oxygen to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the LTTE)”.

The task of the panel created Monday by the UN secretary is to "advise on the issue of liability relating to allegations of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law during the last days of the conflict."

Colombo is particularly concerned by  the fact that the UN gives credit to the many voices of groups like Human Rights Watch (HRW), who accuse the army. HRW recently its in polemics with the government, said it "also had photographic evidence" of violations. President Mahinda Rajapaksa (pictured) instead claims that "our troops had a gun in one hand and a copy of the Declaration of Human Rights in the other."

Neither does Colombo like the composition of the group, led by Indonesia Marzuk Darusman, already responsible for examining human rights abuses in North Korea and who in 2008 led a mission on human rights in Sri Lanka , clashing with the authorities.  

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