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Transcript of an interview with Channel 4 News,  kindly provided by Channel 4 News who subsequently did not present any Sri Lankan viewpoint in their news coverage.

What will the reaction in Sri Lanka be to the UN report?

I can’t speak for general reaction. I think it is a mistake to call it the UN report as I think some members of the Security Council have pointed out. Essentially the Secretary General told us he was appointing a panel to advise him on what he should do on issues of accountability, and of course advise him personally, so it is something he can decide on. What we have seen so far of the report, I haven’t read the whole, suggests a political agenda and I have reacted to this on my blog which your listeners might be interested in – pointing out the political aspects of this which seem inappropriate.

One thing that is very clear is that the panelists were deeply upset by the fact that the Human Rights council voted resoundingly against an attempt by some countries – I think Mr Miliband was behind this – to arraign Sri Lanka of war crimes in May 2009. There was a resounding vote in favour of Sri Lanka and during this panel report they keep saying that should be reversed, which I think shows the intentions of the panelists.

What do you think the political agenda is?

It does seem to me to raise questions about the Sri Lankan government’s actions which are designed to put pressure on the government, and there are several reasons for this that one can think of. One is that all the panelists come from a particular background that thinks a democratically elected government has to be subject to their predilections. The second of course harks back to some governments wanting to in a sense interfere with governments that perhaps don’t toe the line. We’ve seen some examples of this recently in the Middle East, where you have such inconsistency between how they treat one country and another that the political let’s say predilections are obvious.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

April 2011
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