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* EU welcomes UN investigation team on Sri Lanka, urges government to fully cooperate
Tue, Jul 1, 2014, 07:45 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

July 01, Brussels: The European Union today welcoming the appointment of three experts by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to the UN investigation team on Sri Lanka, urged the Sri Lankan government to fully cooperate with the investigation.

"We welcome the appointment by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, of three renowned experts - Martti Ahtisaari, Silvia Cartwright and Asma Jahangir - to assist the investigation team for Sri Lanka led by her office," the EU said in a statement today.

"We urge the Government of Sri Lanka to fully cooperate with the investigation to address accountability issues as an important step for fostering genuine reconciliation," the EU said adding that Sri Lankan government should also allow all stakeholders to engage without fear of reprisals.

The UN High Commissioner Wednesday on June 25 named the three distinguished experts who have agreed to advise and support the team set up to conduct a comprehensive investigation of alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka, as mandated by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in March.

"Sri Lanka has come a long way in rebuilding the country since the end of the conflict five years ago but efforts should not stop here," The EU said.

"Notably the full implementation of the recommendations of Sri Lanka's own Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission and advancing a sustainable political solution are essential for peaceful growth and stability in Sri Lanka.

The EU said it is willing to continue assisting Sri Lanka in its efforts to make further progress on these issues.

The UN Investigation Team comprising 12 staff, including investigators, forensics experts, a gender specialist, a legal analyst and various other staff with specialized skills is coordinated by the senior human rights official Ms. Sandra Beidas.

The experts will play a supportive and advisory role, providing advice and guidance as well as independent verification throughout the investigation, according to the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The government has flatly rejected the investigation mandated to the OHCHR reiterating that it will not allow a UN team to visit Sri Lanka for the 'OHCHR-driven' investigation emanating from the resolution adopted at the 25th session of the UNHRC in March this year.

The Sri Lankan parliament on June 18 passed a motion against the UN investigation and accordingly the parliament has decided to deny permission for the UN investigation team to enter the country.

The UN, the United States and the United Kingdom have asked the Sri Lankan government to fully cooperate with the international investigation.

However, the High Commissioner has assured that the team will collect information from outside the country and the investigation will still continue even if the Sri Lankan government refuses to cooperate.

The UN team is expected to conduct its operations for a 10-month period beginning in mid-June t and ending in mid-April 2015.

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