UN panel on Sri Lanka civil war may be set up by next week

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Colombo, June 18 (ANI): The United Nations estimates that 100,000 people were killed in the over two-decade-old civil war in Sri Lanka, and now has said that it will appoint a panel to advise it on human rights issues arising from the event.

The BBC quoted the UN's head of political affairs, Lynn Pascoe, as saying that the panel could be in place by next week after concluding a two-day visit to the island-nation.

Colombo is opposed to the panel, which would advise UN chief Ban Ki Moon on moves to address the grievances that fuelled the conflict. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaska described it as totally unwarranted.

The panel is expected to confront allegations of war crimes, which have been levelled against both the government, and the Tamil rebels.

Pascoe, a senior UN diplomat, said the UN will also be interested in the progress of an internal commission on the final years of the war, recently set up by Colombo.

There was an urgent need to take steps towards political reconciliation, he added.

"Bitterness and divisions that took decades to accumulate will not dissolve overnight in Sri Lanka," Pascoe said. (ANI)

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