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New Zealand MP questions compromising stand on UN report

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 17 May 2011 07:44 No Comment]

“The ‘international community’ should get moving now, because the Sri Lankan government has already dismissed the report out of hand,” said New Zealand parliamentarian Keith Locke on Monday, responding to the stand of New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully that the IC would consider appropriate action if the Sri Lankan government is unable to address the concerns of the UN panel report. Keith Locke called a similar stand by the European Parliament on the implementation of the panel report as compromising. “The European Parliament’s compromise resolution makes some good points but essentially leaves it up to the Sri Lankan government to investigate further and implement the Panel’s recommendations,” he said.

“However, we can’t afford to let the matter lie,” said the Green Party parliamentarian of New Zealand, in statement released by his office.

He cited the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, “The way this conflict was conducted, under the guise of fighting terrorism, challenged the very foundations of the rules of war and cost the lives of tens of thousands of civilians.”

Keith Locke raised the following question to the Foreign Minister in the New Zealand Parliament on 28 April:

“Does the government support the call by the United Nations Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Accoutability in Sri Lanka, made in a 31 March 2011 report, for an independent international investigation into what it calls credible allegations of serious violations of international law by the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, “some of which would amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity”?

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully replied:

“The New Zealand Government has supported investigation into, and expressed concerns about allegations of human rights violations in Sri Lanka. The New Zealand Government welcomed the establishment of the United Nations Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability, which examined issues of accountability in the conduct of the Sri Lankan Government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam during the internal war that ended in 2009. The Panel’s report concludes that there are allegations of serious violations of international law committed by both sides.

“The four useful recommendations in its report include the key recommendation that the Sri Lankan Government should immediately respond to the serious allegations by initiating an effective accountability process, beginning with genuine investigations into the alleged violations of international law. Other recommendations include the establishment by the UNSG of an independent international investigation mechanism.

“The report has noted obstacles to accountability in Sri Lanka. Should these persist and the Sri Lankan Government is unable to address the concerns detailed in the Panel’s report, I am certain the international community, including New Zealand, will be open to considering appropriate international investigative mechanisms to bring justice and accountability to the victims of the Sri Lankan war. In the meantime, the Government calls on all parties to respond responsibly to the Panel’s report, including by ensuring the safety of United Nations staff and facilities in Sri Lanka.”

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