Sri Lanka to get visit by UN political chief

EconomyNext – The United Nations is sending the head of its political affairs department to Sri Lanka over the weekend as it assesses the new government’s commitment to a domestic probe into war crimes charges.

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, a former American diplomat, will visit Sri Lanka on Saturday, 28 February, a statement said.

This will be his first visit to Sri Lanka and he plans to meet with senior officials of the government of Sri Lanka, political parties and civil society groups, it said.

"USG Feltman looks forward to discussing with Sri Lankan leaders various issues including reconciliation, accountability and Sri Lanka–UN relations."

The visit comes in the wake of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) decision to delay a report into alleged human rights violations during the conflict in Sri Lanka for six months until September 2015.

The new government of president Maithripala Sirisena has promised a robust domestic inquiry into the allegations.

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera met senior UN officials earlier this month as well as United States government officials and pressed for the postponement of the UNHCR report.

The UN has said it will closely assess Sri Lanka’s planned domestic accountability mechanism into alleged abuses during the 30-year ethnic war.