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Sri Lanka's private sector joins chorus against UN report on war crimes

(Xinhua)

08:31, September 02, 2011

COLOMBO, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's private sector on Thursday joined the ranks criticizing the controversial report released by a UN expert panel to probe alleged war crimes during the last phase of the civil war in the country.

The UN report had come under extensive fire from the Sri Lankan government for containing unsubstantiated allegations concerning deaths of civilians during the last days of the war that concluded in May 2009.

In response, four of the largest private sector associations in Sri Lanka--Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka, National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka and Join Apparel Associations Forum released a report for the first time, outlining what they see as oversights and misrepresentations in the UN report.

Titled "Sri Lanka Private Sector Assessment", the 28 page document argues points raised by the UN report and highlights aspects that the private sector feels have not received adequate attention by the international community.

They insist that the document is a "deconstruction of the most obvious and blatant sins of omission and commission and rhetoric that put the (UN) advisory into contentious dispute."

However the private sector associations are clear that their aim is not to whitewash any faction involved in the conflict but to highlight the demerits faced by Sri Lankans as a result of the report and its results.

The private sector urges the UN and international community to work with the Sri Lankan government in strengthening the accountability frameworks already in place and expresses optimism in making them more credible with the assistance of the media and civil society.

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