Sri Lanka against UN sending probe report to rights body
Sri Lanka on Monday took issue with a planned UN move to forward a damning report on the country to the Human Rights Council, complaining that Colombo was not notified about the action.
Sri Lanka Minister of Plantation Industries Mahinda Samarasinghe claimed that at a briefing on September 9 UN human rights chief Navi Pillay "had informed a group of countries that a decision had been taken by the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General to transmit the report" to both her offices and the Human Rights Council.
"The failure on the part of the High Commissioner to inform the concerned state -- Sri Lanka -- was wholly inappropriate to say the least," the minister told the Human Rights Council.
Asked about Samarasinghe's claim, Pillay's spokesman told AFP that "the issue had come up" during the briefing.
The report by a panel of UN experts released in April detailed violations allegedly committed by both the government and Tamil Tiger rebels, "some of which would amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity".
The report had called for an international probe into the violations, and asked that the Human Rights Council be invited to reconsider the conclusions drawn during its May 2009 special session on Sri Lanka.
During that session, the council had adopted a resolution praising the outcome of the Sri Lanka civil war which saw the defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The text condemned only the Tamil Tigers and "welcomes... the liberation by the government of Sri Lanka of tens of thousands of its citizens that were kept by the LTTE against their will as hostages."
As an international commission could only be set up with Sri Lanka's agreement or if ordered by an inter-governmental body, rights activists have been calling for the report to be forwarded to the Human Rights Council to take action.
Sri Lanka has slammed the report as "biased", and a minister in April said that "no one in the civilised world would accept it."
© 2011 AFP