UN chief defends plan for Sri Lanka human rights body | world | Hindustan Times
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UN chief defends plan for Sri Lanka human rights body

world Updated: Mar 17, 2010 08:09 IST

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is determined to set up an advisory body on human rights issues in Sri Lanka, despite protests from some quarters, Xinhua reported.

"There will be no delay in the establishment of the panel," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters on Tuesday.

"I am convinced that it is well within my power as secretary-general of the United Nations to ask such a body to furnish me with the advise of this nature," he said at a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York.

"That the panel will furnish with me advise of such matters does not infringe on the sovereignty of Sri Lanka," he added.

The chair of the Coordinating Bureau (CoB) of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) countries had expressed concern last week over Ban's decision to set up the advisory body in Sri Lanka.

In his letter, Maged A. Abdelaziz, chairman of the CoB, said the move interferes in the domestic matters of Sri Lanka. "There is nothing in the UN Charter that authorises intervention in matters that are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state," Abdelaziz said.

Ban said the letter demonstrated "some misunderstanding" about the nature and purpose of the panel, which he will take up directly with NAM. "This panel will report to me directly, not to any other body," he said.

After the final offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a joint UN-Sri Lankan statement last May outlined a series of steps the government would take to address allegations of war crimes, political reconciliation and the movement of displaced people.

Ban said the progress has been slow and that is why he wants to set up an advisory body.