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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2960

UN Secretary General Rejects UN As Source Of Sri Lanka Causality Reports

United Nations, 03 June, ( UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday reiterated his strong concerns over "unacceptably high" civilian casualties in the conflict between the Sri Lankan Government and Tamil rebels, while rejecting in the strongest terms any figure attributed to the United Nations.

Briefing the General Assembly on his recent visit to Sri Lanka and other travels, Mr. Ban said media reports alleging that some 20,000 civilians may have been killed during the last phase of the conflict "do not emanate from the UN and most are not consistent with the information at our disposal."

"I categorically reject - repeat, categorically - any suggestion that the United Nations has deliberately under-estimated any figures," the Secretary-General underscored.

"Let me also say, whatever the total, the casualties in the conflict were unacceptably high - as I have also said repeatedly," he added.

Mr. Ban told the Assembly that during his 22-23 May visit to the South Asian island nation, he pressed the Government to heed international calls for an inquiry into alleged abuses and underscored the need for full accountability and transparency.

"Any inquiry conducted by the international community would require, first, the full cooperation of the host government, or, second, the support of the UN Member States, expressed through the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly or the Security Council," he said.

The Secretary-General yesterday voiced hope that the authorities will follow through with the statement issued jointly with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the end of his trip to Sri Lanka in which they stressed that addressing the aspirations and grievances of all communities, as well as finding a lasting political solution, is essential for long-term development following the long-running conflict's end.

Both leaders also agreed that with the conclusion of military operations, Sri Lanka has entered a new post-conflict phase and faces many obstacles relating to relief, rehabilitation, resettlement and reconciliation.

"I stand ready to do whatever we can in the interests of justice, human rights and Sri Lanka's political future," the Secretary-General said in his address to the Assembly on Monday – 01 June.

- Asian Tribune -

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