UN chief worried by growing violence ahead of Sri Lanka polls

UNITED NATIONS, January 20, 2010 (AFP) – UN chief Ban Ki-moon is alarmed by the growing violence in Sri Lanka, including the reported slaying of political activists, ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, his spokesman said Wednesday. “The Secretary General is concerned about the growing violence in the lead-up to the presidential election in Sri Lanka, including the reported killing of political activists,” Martin Nesirky said in a statement.

Ban urged all Sri Lanka parties and their supporters “to show restraint and refrain from violence, to adhere to the electoral laws and rules, and to avoid provocative acts throughout the election period and its aftermath.”

He stressed that the peaceful conduct of the election is of the “highest importance for long term peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.”

Sri Lanka’s independent election Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake was quoted as saying Wednesday that he had stopped issuing directives to the police and other government authorities who disregarded his orders for conducting a free and fair election.

“Dissanayake said he would not issue any more directions to the police because his directions have been ignored in the run-up to the January 26 presidential election,” the C