Sri Lanka rejects UN bid to set up rights panel

UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon informed Rajapaksa of his intention to go ahead with the establishment of a ‘Panel of Experts’. “He (Ban) also explained that such a panel would advise him on the way forward on accountability issues related to Sri Lanka,” UN chief spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters at the UN headquarters on Friday.

But, in a sharp reaction, Rajapaksa termed the move as “unwarranted” and “uncalled for” and said his country opposed the move.

“The intention of the UN chief to appoint a panel is totally uncalled for and unwarranted,” Rajapaksa said in a statement. He said such an intention “would certainly be perceived as an interference” with the country in the process of holding general elections.

Lanka warns

The Sri Lankan statement warned that the appointment of such a panel as intended would compel Sri Lanka to take necessary and appropriate action in that regard.

“The president stressed that Sri Lanka looked forward to treatment as per the UN Charter that provides for equal treatment to all members of the UN,” it said.

“Rajapaksa said it was both unprecedented and unwarranted as no such action had been taken about other states with continuing armed conflicts on a large scale, involving major humanitarian catastrophes and causing the deaths of large number of civilians due to military action,” it said. Ban was told that Sri Lanka had concluded its armed conflict with the “most ruthless terrorist organisation in the world,” more than nine months ago.

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