UN heads for rights confrontation with Sri Lanka

UNITED NATIONS, April 22, 2011 (AFP) – The United Nations hurtled toward a high-profile confrontation with the Sri Lankan government Friday over international action on alleged war crimes during a military offensive against Tamil separatists. Rejecting a Sri Lankan demand to keep a report by a panel of experts secret, the United Nations said the report would soon be published in full without changes, and accompanied by recommendations on the next steps to be taken.

The United Nations said it was in talks with Sri Lankan authorities on an offer to add their comments to the report into the alleged deaths of tens of thousands of people when government forces launched a final offensive against Tamil separatists in 2009.

Diplomats noted, however, that Sri Lanka had sought the help of international allies to try and get the recommendations of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon suppressed.

“With Russia and China already trying to intimidate him (Ban), other Security Council members and countries attached to the idea of justice should come to his support,” said Human Rights Watch’s UN director Philippe Bolopion.

“It remains our intention to publish the report of the panel of experts on Sri Lanka in full and without amendment,”