Monday, November 29, 1999

UN official visits Sri Lanka amid human rights concern

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Colombo, June 16 (DPA) UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe met with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Wednesday, as concerns persisted over human rights in the final stages of the battle between government forces and Tamil rebels.Pascoe had earlier visited former Tamil-held areas in the Mullatitivu district, 360 km north of the capital Colombo, where the government is making arrangements to resettle thousands displaced by the fighting.He was also due to meet with opposition party representatives, minority Tamil party leaders, newspaper editors and civil rights group members.UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon wants to appoint a panel to advise him on accountability issues in the long-running Sri Lankan conflict, but the government of the South Asian country has called on the UN not to do so.The government has appointed its own commission to look into events after 2002, when the previous government entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Tamil rebels under a Norwegian-backed deal.Rajapaksa's government cancelled the agreement and the Tamil rebels were eventually crushed by a series of military operations, which ended March 18 with the killing of the rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

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