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* UN Secretary-General's experts panel an infringement on the country's sovereignty says Sri Lankan government
Thu, Mar 18, 2010, 08:26 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 18, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government today (18) reiterated its position that the proposed move by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to appoint a Panel of Experts to advise him on accountability issues relating to Sri Lanka is an infringement on the sovereignty of an independent member state.

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama noted that the situation in Sri Lanka is not on the agenda of either the Security Council or the General Assembly or its subsidiary body, the Human Rights Council. Therefore, the proposed measure can only be construed as an "intrusive unilateral initiative" by the UNSG, he said.

He added that the Chair of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement on behalf of the 118-Member Non-Aligned Movement recognizing these clear violations (attempt to violate the UN Charter and interfere in the internal affairs of a Member State) unequivocally expressed the Group's concern on the announced intention to appoint a Panel of Experts by the UN Secretary General to advice him on accountability issues relating to Sri Lanka.

"Hence, what should underline the thinking of the UN is the necessity to provide the Government with the space needed to establish a domestic mechanism to look into such issues with national reconciliation as the guiding principle," Bogollagama said.

The President had assured the UN Secretary General in the telephone conversation on this issue that such a domestic mechanism would be established.

He also observed that this issue, if not resolved taking into consideration Sri Lanka's unique context and rising public anger against the UN Secretary General's proposed move, has the potential to dent/sour the excellent partnership Sri Lanka has been enjoying with the UN since Independence.

The UN Chief on Tuesday (16) dismissed objections raised by Sri Lanka on establishing a panel of experts to advice him on the possible human rights abuses in the country and said it is well within his right to appoint such a panel.

"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 their advice of this nature. This does not in any way infringe on the sovereignty of Sri Lanka," he said.

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