Not proper to prejudge the value of expert panel’s work on Sri Lanka - UN

Wednesday, 26 January 2011 00:32 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Addressing the criticism raised by a rights group on the United Nations’ ‘deferential attitude toward Sri Lankan wartime atrocities’ the UN said it would not be proper to prejudge the value of the expert panel’s work on Sri Lanka.

The New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) releasing its World Report 2011 on Monday criticised the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon for his purportedly soft stance on Sri Lanka.

Responding to media queries on HRW’s charge, Farhan Haq the acting Deputy Spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said the Secretary-General appointed an advisory panel, which will present its report to the Secretary-General soon.

“On Sri Lanka it would not be proper to prejudge the value of its work in promoting accountability and, more importantly, preventing human rights violations in Sri Lanka and other countries in future,” the Spokesperson said.

The HRW criticised the UN chief’s human rights record saying that “the use of dialogue and cooperation in lieu of pressure has emerged with a vengeance at the United Nations, from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to many members of the Human Rights Council.”

The Spokesperson said the view of the Secretary-General is that diplomacy and public pressure are not mutually exclusive.

“In each particular case, the Secretary-General makes a strategic decision on the most effective way to secure respect for human rights and accountability,” the Spokesperson explained.

“The Secretary-General has applied public pressure where he has considered it the most likely means to achieve results,” he further said.

The HRW report accused Sri Lanka of not making any “progress towards justice for the extensive laws of war violations committed by both sides during the long civil war, including the government’s indiscriminate shelling of civilians and the LTTE’s use of thousands of civilians as human shield in the final months of the conflict.”