Top UN official to visit Sri Lanka this week

UNITED NATIONS, June 14, 2010 (AFP) – UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s top political adviser will visit Sri Lanka this week to discuss political reconciliation, resettlement of minority Tamils displaced by ethnic strife and human rights, a spokesman said Monday. The world body estimates that up to 100,000 people died in Sri Lanka’s Tamil separatist conflict after the Tiger rebels first emerged in 1972. Lynn Pascoe, the UN under secretary-general for political affairs, will be in Sri Lanka Wednesday and Thursday for talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse, top government officials, representatives of opposition and Tamil minority parties and civil society, Faran Haq told a press briefing.

On May 5, Sri Lanka’s state-run Daily News newspaper reported that Colombo plans to set up a reconciliation commission to foster ethnic unity as the island emerges from nearly four decades of bloody conflict.

Sri Lankan Government troops defeated the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in May last year after killing the guerilla leaders who were fighting for an ethnic Tamil homeland.