UN rejects Sri Lanka call to hold back war crimes report

UNITED NATIONS, April 21, 2011 (AFP) – The United Nations insisted Thursday that a report on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka would be released in full, rejecting demands by the government to hold back the study. “It remains our intention to publish the report of the panel of experts on Sri Lanka in full and without amendment,” deputy UN spokesman Farhan Haq told a press briefing.

He added that talks were being held 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.

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris earlier asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon not to release the report which he called “preposterous”.

“The publication of this report will cause irreparable damage to the reconciliation efforts of Sri Lanka. It will damage the UN system too,” Peiris told reporters in Colombo.

The United Nations said the report would be released as soon as possible but gave no day and did not indicate whether there was a deadline. “Discussions are continuing today. We have tried to see whether they are willing to avail themselves of the idea of