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UN chief urges Sri Lanka to redress wrongs of war

Colombo-UN chief Ban Ki-moon today said the Sri Lankan government needs to do much more to redress the "wrongs of the past" and to restore the "legitimacy and accountability" of key institutions such as the judiciary and security services after decades of bloodshed with the LTTE.
The UN Secretary-General, however, welcomed the efforts made by the government of President Maithripala Sirisena, who had come to power on a pledge of reconciliation and reform after defeating Sinhala-strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2015.
Ban welcomed the symbolic steps taken by the government to build bridges among communities, including the decision to sing the national anthem in Sinhala and Tamil on Independence Day in February this year for the first time since the 1950s.
"These steps have built confidence and trust, and strengthened transparency and accountability," Ban said.
But there was “still much work to be done in order to redress the wrongs of the past and to restore the legitimacy and accountability of key institutions, particularly the judiciary and the security services,” the UN chief said.
“More can and should be done to address the legacy of the past and acknowledge the voices of the victims,” he said while delivering a lecture on 'Sustaining Peace and Achieving Sustainable Development Goals' here.
He said this was “critical for reconciliation, and for ensuring respect for human rights of all Sri Lankans, without regard for ethnicity, religion and political affiliation.”
In his meeting with Sirisena yesterday, Ban expressed his support to the government's reform programme as well as its reconciliation efforts with the minority Tamils. The UN chief said Sri Lanka's young population is its "biggest asset" and the future success of the nation depended on them.
Ban, on his second visit to Sri Lanka since 2009 when the Sri Lankan troops defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), said the country was "still in the early stages of regaining its rightful position in the region and the international community".

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