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NYT editorial 'unjust' and 'insensitive' says SL ambassador

Sri Lanka's ambassador to the United States, Prasad Kariyawasam, criticised an editorial published by the New York Times last month on Sri Lanka's refusal to allow in UN investigators, as "insensitive" and "unjust".

The editorial, 'Sri Lanka's Intransigence' published August 22, argued that the country's intransigence "puts Sri Lanka in the company of North Korea and Syria, two countries that also barred access to United Nations human rights investigators."

In a letter to the editor, published by the NYT on September 2, Kariyawasam said the editorial "makes insensitive assertions about my country."

"To compare Sri Lanka to human rights and humanitarian emergencies elsewhere in the world is unjust," he added, before reiterating Sri Lanka's refusal to engage with the UN inquiry.

Extract reproduced below:

"We reject the United Nations investigation because its intrusive nature exceeds its mandate. It challenges the sovereignty of our country; violates basic principles of international law; vitiates the atmosphere needed for reconciliation; and ignores substantial and progressive socioeconomic and political progress already achieved, including the resettlement of 300,000 displaced people and the reintegration of 11,000 armed cadres.

The three-decade-long conflict with many failed attempts at peace because of L.T.T.E. intransigence affected the whole country. Local accountability mechanisms, now strengthened with international experts, are respectful of inherent social, cultural and ethnic susceptibilities, unlike the United Nations-driven process, which serves externally motivated interests and will destabilize the intricate balance of the national reconciliation process."