COLOMBO: The UN failed in its mandate to protect civilians in the last months of Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war, a leaked draft of a highly critical internal UN report says.
“Events in Sri Lanka mark a grave failure of the UN,” it concludes, according to the BBC. The government and Tamil rebels are accused of war crimes in the brutal conflict that ended in May 2009.
The UN does not comment on leaked reports and says it will publish the final version. The 26-year war left at least 100,000 people dead. There are still no confirmed figures for tens of thousands of civilian deaths in the last months of battle.
An earlier UN investigation said it was possible up to 40,000 people had been killed in the final five months alone. Others suggest the number of deaths could be even higher.
Former senior UN official Charles Petrie, who headed the internal review panel, said the “penultimate” draft the BBC has seen “very much reflects the findings of the panel.” He is now in New York to present the report to the UN Secretary-General.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan police are hunting for five prisoners who escaped last week during a prison riot in which 27 inmates died, officials said yesterday. Six other escaped prisoners were captured earlier.
Prison Commissioner Gamini Kulathunga said Welikada Prison in Colombo has returned to normal after the shootout last Friday in which 27 inmates were killed and 42 other people were wounded, including prisoners, police commandoes, army troops and a passer-by.