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Leading News from Sri Lanka::

* UK says UN Secretary General has mandate to appoint experts panel on Sri Lanka
Sat, Mar 20, 2010, 07:46 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 20, Colombo: Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations Mark Lyall Grant has said that his country disagrees with the argument put forward by the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) that the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has no jurisdiction to seek advise on accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka.

In an informal comment to the media yesterday (19) at the UN, Ambassador Grant had said his country believes that the Secretary General "does have a mandate through the UN charter to uphold human rights and humanitarian international law, and therefore he is entirely within his rights to set up a group of experts who will advise him on taking forward his concerns about some of the allegations that have been made in the recent months in Sri Lanka."

"So we would disagree with the Non-Aligned Movement, who are arguing that he is acting beyond his mandate," he said.

Ambassador Lyall Grant said that UK has made it very clear that it "wants to see an end to impunity, that we want to see allegations of war crimes, human rights violations, human rights abuses, thoroughly investigated."

Sri Lanka has vehemently objected to setting up an expert panel to advise the UN Secretary-General on the accountability issues saying that such apnel would infringe on the sovereignty of the country.

The 118-member Non-Aligned Movement in a letter to the Secretary-General said that it strongly condemns the selective targeting of individual countries which it deems contrary to the founding principles of the movement and the United Nations Charter.

UN Secretary General's move could do more harm than good to the country's ongoing and relentless efforts aimed at reinforcing reconciliation and national unity, the organization pointed out in the letter.

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