Sri Lanka says won't allow entry of UN human rights panel members

Posted By: Staff
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London, June 25 (ANI): The Sri Lankan Government has declared that it would refuse visas for UN panel members appointed to investigate alleged human rights abuses during the civil war against Tamil rebels.

"The position of the Sri Lanka Government is abundantly clear - we will not have them in this country" The BBC quoted External Affairs Minister, GL Peiris, as saying.

The three-member panel was appointed by both sides to look into the allegations of human rights abuses during the last months of the 26-year conflict that ended in 2009.

Meanwhile, the UN has described the move to prevent the panel from entering the country as "most unfortunate."

"Everybody loses out if we cannot go to Sri Lanka, it will make it harder for the truth to be unearthed," said General Marzuki Darusman, the head of the three-member panel.

International human rights groups are skeptical about the ability of the government to investigate claims impartially, and are demanding an independent investigation. he UN, however, has said that its panel is designed to give advice and is not a full investigation.

Earlier, this week, Sri Lankan Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella had said that the government was "concerned" that Ban Ki-moon, as an outsider, had appointed the panel of human rights advisers.

The country is recovering after nearly three decades of conflict, which claimed over 100,000 lives, mainly in the northern and eastern provinces, where the LTTE was fighting for a separate state for the Tamil minority.

According to the UN estimates, some 7,500 civilians were killed during the final weeks of the conflict. (ANI)

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