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Sri Lanka squirms at UNHRC

Faced with the rising tide of voices calling for an independent international investigation, Mahinda Samarasinghe, Sri Lanka's plantation minister and representative at the UNHRC meeting in Geneva, launched a desperate counter attack.

The Sri Lanka delegation has evidently been caught off guard by news that Ban Ki Moon plans to hand over the report by the UN Panel of Experts into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka to Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, imminently. 

Samarasinghe fought back, reportedly criticising the UN for being 'biased' and for failing to inform Sri Lanka previously regarding the handing over of the report, and for the very fact Sri Lanka was informally discussed.

According to a report in the Sunday Times, Samarasinghe remarked,

"The Government of Sri Lanka was concerned at a growing trend in the Human Rights Council to depart from well established principles of procedures in the conduct of the affairs of the Council and noted the failure on the part of the High Commissioner to inform the concerned State, Sri Lanka, regarding a report about Sri Lanka that was transmitted between the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General."

He is also said to have remarked, that the High Commissioner's 'failure' to inform the state in question, raises "serious concerns" and leads to a "loss in confidence" in the High Commissioner's office.

The ruffled Samarasinghe, attempting to seek cover behind the infamous LLRC, added, "It is critical to wait for that body to finish its deliberations and come up with its conclusions in due time."

However, over two years on, with no evidence meaningful progress, Sri Lanka's demands for patience are falling on increasingly unsympathetic ears.

U.S. ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe urged Sri Lanka "to quickly demonstrate that it is able and willing to meet these obligations as it seeks reconciliation."

She warned, "if they do not, there will be growing pressure from the international community to examine other options."

Reuters have quoted an un-named Western diplomat as saying,

"The Sri Lankans think their frontal assault is going to work ... But they have got to have some whiff of credibility or the international community will be forced to address it."

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