UN Says SL Inquiry Into War Crimes Must Satisfy Tamils
COLOMBO: The visiting UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffery Feltman, has said that any Sri Lankan domestic inquiry into allegations of human rights violations and war crimes during the last phase of the 2006-2009 Eelam War IV should satisfy the minority Tamils.
Speaking to the media here on Tuesday at the conclusion of his four day visit to Lanka, Feltman said that the mechanism that is to be put in place by the Lankan government will have to measure up to the expectations of the Tamil community which was the most affected by the war.
He drew the attention of the Lankan government to the “wide trust deficit” that exists between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils, and has said that the domestic inquiry must satisfy the Tamils.
“Without question, there is still a wide trust deficit between communities in Sri Lanka, especially between the Tamil and the Sinhalese. We have encouraged the national leaders and political stake holders to work on all of these issues in the spirit of inclusion and consultation,” Feltman said.
He urged the Lankan government to immediately address pressing issues relating to land, detentions, disappearances, and the “military posture” in civilian areas, by which he meant the overwhelming military presence and involvement in the Tamil-majority Northern Province.
Feltman underscored expectations by the UN and the international community that the government will, as it has promised, develop in the coming months, a strong framework for accountability that meets international standards and norms, and which also satisfies Sri Lankans.
Feltman was hopeful that the government will address these issues. He recalled that Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera had told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, that the new government will promote reconciliation, accountability and human rights.
As requested by Sri Lanka, the UN is committed to assisting efforts to usher in accountability and reconciliation through the Peace building Fund and other appropriate facilities, Feltman said.