UN ‘failed Sri Lanka civilians’, says internal probe
The United Nations 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.
The government and Tamil rebels are accused of war crimes in the brutal conflict which ended in May 2009.
The UN’s former humanitarian chief, John Holmes, has criticised the report.
Mr Holmes said the UN faced “some very difficult dilemmas” at the time and could be criticised for the decisions it had taken.
“But the idea that if we behaved differently, the Sri Lankan government would have behaved differently I think is not one that is easy to reconcile with the reality at the time,” he told the BBC’s Newshour programme.
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.
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