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Disruption to UN offices in SL "unacceptable"

The United Nations has said that any disruption of its work in Sri Lanka due to protests planned for May 1 against the UN war crimes report is "unacceptable."

world Updated: Apr 30, 2011 02:33 IST

The United Nations has said that any disruption of its work in Sri Lanka due to protests planned for May 1 against the UN war crimes report is "unacceptable."

"As the host country, the Sri Lankan government has responsibilities towards UN personnel and assets so as to ensure the continuation of the vital work of the organization without any hindrance or threats to the security of its personnel or facilities," said UN spokesperson Farhan Haq here.

"In light of the demonstrations that took place in July, it would be unacceptable if the authorities failed to prevent any disruption of the normal functioning of the UN offices in Sri Lanka as a result of unruly protests,” Haq told journalists.

Last July, Sri Lankan minister Wimal Weerawansa went on a hunger strike to protest against the international probe into alleged human rights violations during the last stages of the war in 2009 between the government and Tamil Tigers rebel who were defeated in May 2009.

Protesters also held demonstrations outside the UN office in the capital.

Demonstrations are planned for May 1 to protest against the UN report, officially released this week, which outlines allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity against the government and Tamil Tigers.

"The panel’s determination of credible allegations reveals a very different version of the final stages of the war than that maintained to this day by the government," the report said.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said that to establish an international investigation into the crimes alleged in the report, he needs the consent of the Lankan government or an intergovernmental body like the UN General Assembly needs to authorise it.

"I would welcome to have that kind of mandate from either the Sri Lankan Government or an intergovernmental body so that I would be able to establish such a commission of inquiry," Ban said this week.

Speaking to PTI in April, Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka’s envoy to the UN appeared confident that the matter would not be brought up in the Security Council.

“We have friends," he said.