By Jamila Najmuddin
The government has further delayed a trip by UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe to Sri Lanka after the UN sought permission to facilitate a visit by Pascoe in May to discuss the developments in the country, Daily Mirror online learns.
The United Nations had sought permission from the Sri Lankan government to facilitate a visit by Pascoe mid this month afterwhich UN Chief Ban Ki Moon was expected to appoint his Panel of Experts to advise him on accountability issues related to Sri Lanka.
However Daily Mirror online learns that the Sri Lankan government had not replied in favour due to which fresh dates were proposed by the UN in June. However the government is yet to reply to the fresh dates citing that both parties (UN and government) had to discuss a convenient date.
The UN last week insisted that there was no delay in the appointment of the expert panel after rumours that such a panel was not on the cards anymore surfaced and strongly maintained that it’s Chief Ban Ki Moon would finalise the expert team soon.
Ban Ki Moon’s Spokesperson, Martin Nesirky responding to questions by the Inner City Press in New York last week said, “There is no delay. The Secretary-General is pushing ahead with putting together the panel of experts that we’ve talked about a number of times, here and elsewhere. Not only the panel, but the terms of reference; that is being actively worked on. There is no delay,” Nesirky insisted.
In a clear move to avoid the UN Chief from appointing the expert panel, President Mahinda Rajapakse said last week that he will appoint a Commission to inquire if any internationally accepted conventions were violated during the war and the circumstances that may have led to such violations and identify any persons or groups responsible for such acts.
The Presidential secretariat said this inquiry stemmed from the President’s overriding interest in the need for restorative justice for the Sri Lankan people. The Commission’s findings will seek to take the Sri Lankan nation towards the common goals of a multi-ethnic polity, in a spirit of cooperation, partnership and friendship, learning the lessons from recent history to ensure that there would be no recurrence of such a tragic conflict in the future. (Daily Mirror online)