UN may release the report on Sri Lanka late Thursday

Apr 21, New York: The United Nations intend to release the Expert Panel report on Sri Lanka later on Thursday despite the call by the Sri Lankan government not to make the report public as it may derail the reconciliation process.

The Deputy spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, Farhan Haq at the daily press briefing today said the UN intend to publish the report in full without any amendment.

“It is our intention to release it (the report) as soon as possible and we would still like to publish it simultaneously with a response by the Sri Lankan government,” the spokesperson said.

The UN is in discussion with the Sri Lankan authorities at the permanent mission in New York to ascertain whether “they are willing to avail themselves of this offer.” However, the offer is not an indefinite one, the spokesperson added.

When asked whether the UN has responded to the Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister’s statement today that the publication of the report will irreparably damage Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process, the spokesperson reiterated the UN’s stance that the report will be released in full without an amendment.

“We are working in good faith with a member state to exercise their right for a response,” he said.

Responding to a question the spokesperson said, the Expert Panel’s report on the accountability of Sri Lanka during the last phase of the war was important as an exercise in fulfilling one of the key points that the Secretary-General agreed to with the Sri Lankan President during his visit to Sri Lanka in May 2009.

Principal of accountability was one of the key issues, Haq said explaining that after giving sometime for the Sri Lankan government to pursue the issue of accountability on its own the SG believed that he needed to form an independent panel to look at the issue.

The Panel has done their work conscientiously and did not overstep their mandate, the spokesperson said in response to the Sri Lankan government’s allegation that the supposedly advisory Panel has overstepped its mandate.

The spokesperson said when the report is made public possibly later today the SG expects to release a statement that would discuss the next steps and how he would choose to follow-up on the Panel’s recommendations.

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