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Sri Lanka criticizes UN report on war

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s government criticized on Friday a United Nations’ report on the conclusion of island’s civil war, saying the allegations against the government are ‘‘unsubstantiated and erroneous.’’

In a response to an internal review of the world body released last week, the External Affairs ministry said the report ‘‘appears to be another attempt at castigating Sri Lanka for militarily defeating’’ the Tamil Tiger guerrillas, who fought for a separate state in the Indian ocean island.

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The UN report said that the world body’s own inadequate efforts to protect civilians in 2009 during the bloody final months of the civil war marked a ‘‘grave failure’’ that led to suffering for hundreds of thousands of people.

The report also accused UN staff in Colombo of not perceiving that preventing civilian deaths was their responsibility and accused their bosses at UN headquarters of not telling them otherwise. A separate UN report last year said up to 40,000 ethnic minority Tamil civilians may have been killed in the war’s final months.

The report also accused the government of working to intimidate UN staff, of withholding visas of those critical of the government, and of planting false allegations against them in the media.

Contrary to the government’s assertion, the report was heavily critical of the rebels and accused them of holding thousands of civilians as human shields and shooting those who tried to escape.

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