The UN and government of Sri Lanka must make public the contents of the panel’s report to the Secretary General – AHRC Statement

 - April 20th, 2011 - 

The UN panel commissioned to advise the UN Secretary General on several issues relating to the period covering the end of the war with the LTTE has now submitted its report. The content of the report has not yet been published. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called on the UN Secretary General to publish the contents of this report.

The Sri Lankan government issued a statement in which it stated that it had received a copy of the panel’s report and that it rejected the content as being ‘flawed’ and ‘biased’. The Sri Lankan government did not mention the content of the report and on what specific issues it disagreed on.

This report was awaited globally since the appointment of the panel by the Secretary General. The appointment preceded several months of debate from all over the world on the responsibility of the UN relating to the event that occurred in Sri Lanka towards the end of the war with the LTTE. There were serious violations of human rights abuse which the government continuously denied.

What is important at this moment is the right of the people of Sri Lanka, as well as concerned persons throughout the world, to know the content of the report. For the UN to commission a report on an issue that was considered important to many people and then refuse to reveal its contents would not be acceptable. What is more important is the right of the Sri Lankan people themselves to know the content of this report. The matter concerns their nation and the lives of the people could be seriously affected by this report. The people have the right to know the contents of the report and a right to critically discuss it. The government’s blanket rejection of the report will only generate more curiosity among the people as to which matters the Sri Lankan government disagrees with.

Some sections of the people may reject the findings of the report, while others some others may agree with them. Whichever conclusions the people may come to is not the issue at the moment. What is at issue is the people’s right to know this report.

For the Sri Lankans perhaps this document will be the most important document from the international community in recent history. At no other time in the history of Sri Lanka has the United Nations appointed such a panel, nor has it issued a report of this nature. Different UN agencies have made reports on various issues but these cannot be compared with the political and social importance of this present report.

The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the UN Secretary General to issue this report to the global community. The AHRC also urges the Sri Lankan government to have the report published and made available to the media through its various channels. Translations of the report into Sinhala and Tamil languages are also essential. What is at stake is the ability of the people to know and debate the issues that concern their nation and their lives. This is a matter of too much importance to be ignored for whatever considerations. And there cannot be any valid reason to keep such a report out of the view of the Sri Lankan public.

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