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UN failed Sri Lankans, report says

UNITED NATIONS — A United Nations report released Wednesday said inadequate efforts by the world body to protect civilians during the bloody final months of Sri Lanka’s civil war marked a major failure that led to suffering for hundreds of thousands of people.

The report 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 released last year said up to 40,000 ethnic minority Tamil civilians may have been killed in the war’s final months.

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The report accused UN officials and member states of being reluctant to interfere. It said the political conditions after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States made countries less likely to stop a government fighting against a group many had branded a terrorist organization.

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