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  • » 06/11/2012, 00.00

    SRI LANKA

    UN commissioner wants to meet Sri Lankan civil war witnesses

    Melani Manel Perera

    The visit by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has not been confirmed. Colombo opposes it, wants local NGOs as mediators. US secretary of state wants the Sri Lankan government to support Pillay.

    Colombo (AsiaNews) - The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay plans to hold discussions with civilians who testified before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) set up by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to investigate the last phase of the civil war, highly placed External Affairs Ministry sources said.

    Within the government, many are opposed to the visit, viewing it as lack of confidence in the LLRC's work. However, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has not yet made any official request. If it does, Sri Lankan authorities will bring in local NGOs as mediators.

    At the end of 2011, the LRCC issued a report. In it, some Tamil Tiger (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) officials are said to have gone missing after their surrender. Pillay wants to talk to witnesses who talked about the missing in order to know more about it.

    The Secretary of State Hilary Clinton requested Colombo to provide assistance to the visit by Pillay, during the discussion held with Clinton at the recent special visit to the United States by Sri Lanka's External affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris.

    The United States was one of the actors in a UN resolution on alleged war crimes committed by Sri Lankan troops in the final phase of the civil war.

    Adopted on 22 March, the resolution called on Sri Lanka's government to improve on the LLRC recommendations and take all possible steps to ensure justice, equality and reconciliation among Sri Lankans.

     

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    See also

    27/08/2013 SRI LANKA
    Navi Pillay in Sri Lanka to vet human rights violations
    The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is in Colombo at the start of a five-day visit. She plans to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa and make short trips to the country's hotspots.

    02/09/2013 SRI LANKA
    For UN high commissioner, Sri Lanka is moving towards authoritarianism
    United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay expressed this concern at the end of an official visit to the country. Although the government allowed her to move freely, priests and activists have reported threats against them. The UN official also met with relatives of people who disappeared.

    28/02/2012 SRI LANKA
    Rajapaksa brings thousands of people into the streets to oppose UN war crime charges
    The United Nations resolution alleges abuses that Sri Lankan soldiers and Tamil rebels committed abuses during the country's civil war. The government accuses the UN and Western powers of interfering in its domestic affairs. In April 2011, a UN report blamed the Sri Lankan air force of killing 40,000 people.

    09/01/2012 SRI LANKA
    Religious leaders call for urgent solution to the IDP problem and reconciliation with Tamil
    Christians, Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus in the Congress of Religions call for the implementation of proposals contained in the report issued by a commission of inquiry instituted by Rajapaksa. Resettling displaced people and finding a solution to the interethnic problem are necessary for a lasting peace. However, the government is not eager to act.

    23/12/2011 SRI LANKA
    Commission of inquiry defends Rajapaksa against UN
    The report by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission set up by President Rajapaksa to investigate the final phase (2002-2009) of the civil war is a response to a UN report that accused the government of war crimes. For a Christian activist, it is necessary to break with the past to promote Tamil-Sinhalese reconciliation.



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