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The Government says it will use Lord Naseby’s statement to counter claims on war crimes allegations against the country.Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana told Parliament today, the Government was grateful to the statement made on Sri Lanka by Lord Naseby at the British Parliament recently. Lord Naseby had in his statement rejected claims that the death toll during the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka was over 40,000. Marapana told Parliament that the United Nations and the international community have recognized the efforts taken by Sri Lanka to address the issue and so the matter has now been localised. The Minister, on a request made by some Government Ministers, said that Lord Naseby will be invited to Sri Lanka to make a statement in the Sri Lankan Parliament.The Minister also asserted that the human rights issue in Sri Lanka will be resolved domestically.“There are no human rights issues to be settled in an international arena anymore,” he said. Marapana said the Government will use the statement made by Lord Naseby at the appropriate forum to counter the war crimes allegations on Sri Lanka.“The statement by Lord Naseby has been made with a lot of research. We should keep it as an ace,” he said. He had said that the civilian casualty toll was between 7,000 to 8,000 and not 40,000 as claimed by a UN panel. He said that the support received to the resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva in March showed the trust and confidence Sri Lanka has obtained for the reconciliation process.The Minister also said that Sri Lanka will continue to engage with the UN Human Rights Council and the international community. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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“You meet against a backdrop of great anxiety – about the possibility of war in Iraq, about nuclear proliferation on the Korean peninsula, about escalating violence in the Middle East, and about the possibility of new terror attacks,” Mr. Annan said in his message delivered on his behalf by Nitin Desai, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. The Forum is an annual conference of civil society groups that looks at ways to counteract the negative affects of globalization and is held at the same time as the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.In his message, the Secretary-General said he shared their worries that a number of other issues, from the merciless spread of AIDS to the negative effects of globalization, will be neglected when so much else may be happening in the weeks and months ahead.”These phenomena and threats have an equal claim on the world’s conscience,” Mr. Annan said, warning that neglecting such threats would be a tragedy, “not least because today we are better positioned than ever before to tackle these problems.” He said the international community now had more than pledges, promises and lengthy plans of action, noting the common framework the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) offer for governments to push forward on key questions of economic and social development. While stressing that governments must act to push the MDGs forward and that the UN system would do all it could, the Secretary-General said neither could succeed without the involvement of the “dynamic forces” arrayed in Porto Alegre. He urged the participants not only to hold their governments to their promises, but also to work in partnerships with them and to forge alliances with each other, UN agencies and the private sector. Mr Annan also said the non-governmental organizations and the business community could enrich the debate on the direction of the international system. “Our goal must be to make globalization an inclusive, equitable process,” he said, “and your advocacy will continue to play a vital part in the effort to shape it so that it offers opportunities not just for a fortunate few, but for all people, especially the poor and vulnerable.” read more