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Sri Lankan Tamil party hails UN war crimes report

Sri Lanka’s main Tamil political party on Monday hailed a leaked UN report which called for an international war crimes probe into the island’s political and military leadership.

The moderate Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said the report, commissioned by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, amounted to “irrefutable confirmation” of atrocities during the final stages of fighting in 2009.

“We welcome the recommendations made by the panel and trust that they will be honestly implemented,” the alliance said in a statement.

The UN report, published in a pro-government newspaper in Colombo on Saturday, detailed “credible allegations” which, if proven, indicate a wide range of violations by both the government and the rebels.

The panel appointed by Ban has recommended that an independent commission be appointed to investigate alleged atrocities.

The Sri Lankan Government has already rejected the UN report as flawed and biased.

The island strongly protested when Ban appointed the advisory panel in June 2010 and refused to allow members to visit the island.

President Mahinda Rajapakse has urged supporters to turn in 2011,May Day rallies into a show of strength against calls for war crimes investigations.

The TNA said the government should use the UN report to ensure accountability and recognise political rights of minorities.

The alliance is the main political party representing Sri Lanka’s Tamil ethnic minority, who make up 12.5 per cent of the country’s 20 million people.

“We urge the government of Sri Lanka not to miss this opportunity and to constructively engage in a process which would result in all the people of Sri Lanka being the beneficiaries of genuine democracy, equality and justice,” the TNA said.

The UN report said “tens of thousands” of people died between January and May 2009 in the final offensive that resulted in the defeat of the Tigers, ending a decades-old ethnic conflict which had claimed up to 100,000 lives.

It also listed alleged violations by the rebel forces, saying they had intentionally used civilians as human shields.

Deccan Chronicle


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