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article imageHundreds of Sri Lankans protest outside of UN Human Rights office

By Andrew Moran     Jul 6, 2010 in World
Colombo - Outside of the United Nations Human Rights office in Sri Lanka, hundreds of people are protesting against the UN's investigation panel to determine if any human rights violations were committed during the final stages of the country's civil war.
Since the end of 25-year civil war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Sri Lankan government in May of last year, the international community has been urging the United Nations to initiate a panel to investigate the alleged human rights violations by both sides during the final stages of the war.
However, on Tuesday, hundreds of Sri Lankan demonstrators protested against the UN’s investigation panel, according to Al Jazeera. The demonstration took place outside of the UN Human Rights office in Colombo and many of them broke through a police barricade.
The protest, which was led and organized by Housing Minister Wimal Weerawanasa, surrounded the UN office, blocked the building’s entrances and exits, spray-painted security cameras and some had burned an effigy of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The protesters tried to break into the compound but failed at its attempt.
“Our armed forces have beaten terrorism in an exemplary manner. We will not allow our soldiers and political leaders to be taken before an international war tribunal,” said Weerawanasa, reports the Associated Press. “We ask Ban Ki-moon to withdraw this panel if he wants to get the workers and those inside the building out."
Analyst Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, director of the Center for Policy Alternatives in Colombo, believes that the protests in Colombo were orchestrated because many Sri Lankans feel the country’s human rights record is being unfairly targeted as part of an international agenda, reports the Voice of America.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has vehemently denied that his government and their security forces committed any human rights violations.
“You don't ask that from the Americans! You don't go and ask that of the British about Iraq, or Afghanistan or what is happening in Pakistan? Be fair with us ... be fair with us ... don't treat Sri Lanka like this because we defeated terrorism,” said Rajapaksa.
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