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Sri Lanka: UN chief receives report of panel of experts on human rights issues

Sri Lanka: UN chief receives report of panel of experts on human rights issues

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) with President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, on a visit in May 2009
The panel of experts set up to advise Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on accountability issues with respect to the conflict in Sri Lanka today delivered its report to the United Nations chief, who is sharing a copy with the Government prior to making it public.

The three-member panel was set up following the Joint Statement made by Mr. Ban and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa after the Secretary-General visited the South Asian nation shortly after the end of the conflict in May 2009.

During their meeting today at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Ban expressed his sincere appreciation to the members of the panel for having completed their assignment, and said he would study the report carefully and will determine his next steps in the coming days.

The panel was tasked with examining “the modalities, applicable international standards and comparative experience with regard to accountability processes,” taking into account the nature and scope of any alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka.

Government forces declared victory over the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009 after a conflict that had raged on and off for nearly three decades and killed thousands of people. The conflict ended with large numbers of Sri Lankans living as internally displaced persons (IDPs), especially in the north of the island country.

The members of the panel are: Marzuki Darusman of Indonesia (chair), Yasmin Sooka of South Africa and Steven Ratner of the United States. They began their work in September 2010.