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UN's Lanka panel to meet this month

world Updated: Aug 01, 2010 19:41 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

The three-member panel appointed by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to look into human rights accountability issues during the final stages of the civil war in Sri Lanka is likely meet this month, media reports said on Sunday.

The panel has already attracted a lot of criticism from the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. In July, raucous protests were organised outside the UN premises in Colombo, forcing the agency to shut office for a few days. Ban Ki-moon, however, did not accede to the demand of dismantling the panel.

The Sunday Leader newspaper, quoting an associate spokesperson of Ban Ki-moon said the UN hopes to cooperate with the Sri Lankan authorities when looking into the country's commitment to human rights accountability as stated in the 2009 statement issued following UN Chief's visit to Sri Lanka and on alleged violations.

The UNSG announced the panel in June. Within days, the Lankan government had said it would not give visas to the three members to enter the country.

Spokesperson, Soungah Choi, told Sunday Leader that the Panel was hopeful of speaking to various people involved in those areas and would also ``seek the support of the Sri Lankan authorities."

The panel is to decide the modalities after it commences official sessions this month. The panel members met informally met in New York on July 20 but the four-month clock assigned to conclude the Panel's investigations did not begin to count down from that meeting.

Richard Bennet, Representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), under which the Panel is functioning, has been appointed as the chief-of-staff of the Panel.

The panel’s final report is expected four months after commencing official sessions, is expected to advise the UN Secretary-General on the implementation of the commitment to human rights accountability as agreed by the Sri Lankan Government in 2009.