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article imageSri Lanka UN Human Rights office closes, envoy recalled Special

By Andrew Moran     Jul 8, 2010 in World
Colombo - After fierce demonstrations surrounding the United Nations Human Rights office in Sri Lanka, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has recalled his envoy and shut down the office in Colombo. He also frowned upon the country's authorities to maintain order.
Digital Journal reported on Tuesday that hundreds of people protested outside of the UN Human Rights office in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo after Secretary General Ban Ki-moon ordered an investigation panel to determine if human rights violations were committed during the final stages of the 25-year civil war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan government security forces.
The protesters feel the nation’s human rights record is being unfairly targeted and the organizer of the demonstration, Housing Minister Wimal Weerawanasa, rejected any international interference into the internal affairs of Sri Lanka.
Activists and protesters surrounded the UN office, spray-painted security cameras, blocked the building’s entrances and burned an effigy of the UN Secretary General.
UN shutting down office, recall envoy
On Thursday, according to the Globe and Mail, the Secretary General recalled his envoy and closed down the UN’s Sri Lankan offices because he feels it was unacceptable that the proper authorities did not prevent violence and maintain order.
A spokesperson for Ban Ki-moon issued a statement in which he stated: “In light of the evolving situation, he is recalling the United Nations Resident Co-ordinator, Neil Buhne, to New York for consultations. He has also decided that the UN Development Programme Regional Centre in Colombo will be closed.”
The Canadian Press reports that the Secretary General has called upon the Sri Lankan government to live up to its responsibilities towards the UN as host country and to “ensure continuation of the vital work of the organization to the people of Sri Lanka without any further hindrance.”
During the music and dances performed at Queen s Park  the sounds of cries  wimpers  bombs and gun s...
During the music and dances performed at Queen's Park, the sounds of cries, wimpers, bombs and gun shells were heard, which prompted the Tamil families to show what they go through in Sri Lanka.
BBC News reports that Weerawanasa has begun a hunger strike in order to pressure the UN to cancel its panel and investigation.
“I am starting a fast till death. Only when the accusations of war crimes are withdrawn and the panel abolished, will I stop this.”
Canadian Tamils response
Despite opposition by many in Sri Lanka, the Coalition to Stop the War in Sri Lanka (CSWSL) has welcomed the international independent investigation panel into the alleged war crimes and human rights violations committed by the country’s security forces.
Toronto spokesperson for CSWSL, Senthan Nada, told Digital Journal in an e-mail that he is glad that Ban Ki-moon has established a panel of experts to urge “accountability” of those responsible of violations during the final stages of the war.
“As we all are well aware, at least UN itself has said that at least 7,000 ethnic Tamil civilians perished in the first four months of last year, just before the government claimed final victory over the Tigers,” said Nada. “Sri Lankan President and his government ministers are telling barefaced lies to the world about their conduct of the war against Tamil citizens.”
Despite the CSWSL welcoming the UN’s decision, Nada explains that they are still urging the international community to provide credible information and investigations “to ensure full accountability on the part of those who are most responsible for the killing of tens of thousands of civilians in Sri Lanka.”
CSWSL is also urging the Canadian federal government to support the new Eminent Persons Panel and to apply pressure to Sri Lanka to approve visas to the experts in order for them to conduct a thorough investigation.
“If not, then a real and lasting peace in Sri Lanka impossible to achieve.”
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