The Sri Lankan government has warned that the UN's decision to publish the expert panel report on human rights abuses during the Sri Lankan civil war would damage the post-war reconciliation process.
The three-member panel had overstepped its advisory mandate to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, GL Peiris, minister for external affairs, said at press briefing on Thursday. Both the publication and subsequent action, if any, the UN takes would be wrong as the report in its entirety was flawed, he said.
But, mostly, Peiris said that report – which indicts both the government and the separatist Tamil Tigers of killing "tens of thousands" of civilians – would push back reconciliation efforts.
The report was handed over Ban Ki-moon on April 12 and a copy was simultaneously given to Lankan diplomats in New York. Subsequently, parts of the damning report were leaked to the media. The writers said they had credible evidence that the government had deliberately bombed civilians and even hospitals after promising them safety inside a narrow 'no firing zone.' It also accused the LTTE of several war crimes including using displaced Tamils as a human shield.
Expectedly, the government has dismissed the report, saying it was biased and flawed. Today, it said if published, the report could increase animosity among communities.
"We are conscious of the need of the hour – reconciliation. The focus is on bringing people together… (on) the oneness of a nation," he said, adding that the report if published will bring back to life the pain and anguish of the people.
Peiris added that it would also be totally unacceptable if the report was made public before the government-appointed Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) finalised its own report.
The LLRC, appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has been dismissed by critics for not fulfilling international standards of independent enquires into war crimes.
The Minister added that the publication is flawed in his entirety. Hence any action taken in response to this report is unacceptable and wrong, Peiris added.
It is widely expected that the report could be made public by the UN this week.