Make it transparent, make it accountable and make it efficient. The victims in Sri Lanka deserve nothing less:
The United Nations has set up a high-level panel to look into allegations of human rights abuses in the final months of the civil war in Sri Lanka.
Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general, launched the investigation on Tuesday.
His spokesman said it was established “to advise him on the issue of accountability with regards to any alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the final stages of the conflict”.
Authorities in Sri Lanka have called the move “seriously flawed” and last week, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the president, denied his troops fired at a “single civilian” and dismissed calls for a war crimes probe.
Rajiva Wijesinha, the former secretary of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, and currently a member of the Sri Lankan parliament, told Al Jazeera that the panel’s launch is an “extremely regrettable action”.
‘Picking on the small’
“It stems from pressure on the secretary-general [Ban Ki-moon] from so-called human rights groups and some so-called independent officials like Philip Alston [the UN special rapporteur on extra-judicial executions], who thinks it is easier to pick on a small country like Sri Lanka,” he said.
“We have said very clearly that if we are given solid evidence of incidents, we will explore them, and the US state department pointed out particular issues which we will look into, but we have no time to focus on all these sorts of allegations by people with no sense of responsibility.”