Lanka slams UN rights chief for 'unwarranted interference'

Posted By: PTI
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Lanka slams UN rights chief for 'unwarranted interference'
Colombo, Feb 25: The UN has called for an independent international probe into allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka during the final battle with the LTTE, prompting an angry reaction from Colombo which today rejected the demand and slammed it as "unwarranted interference".

In a UN report published yesterday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navy Pillay asked for setting up of an independent probe and said Sri Lanka had "consistently failed to establish the truth". In her report Pillay said, "National mechanisms have consistently failed to establish the truth and achieve justice."

"The High Commissioner believes this can no longer be explained as a function of time or technical capacity, but that it is fundamentally a question of political will," the report stated. "She remains convinced that an independent, international inquiry would play a positive role in eliciting new information and establishing the truth where domestic inquiry mechanisms have failed," it said.

President Mahida Rajapaksa's government today formally rejected Pillay's demand for "an independent, international inquiry". The international community has found fault with Sri Lanka for dragging its feet on the issue of national reconciliation with the Tamil minority and failure to set up a mechanism to address concerns over human rights abuses during the final phase of the war with the LTTE that ended in 2009.

Sri Lanka's permanent mission in Geneva, in a statement from the government, slammed Pillay, saying her report "reflects the preconceived, politicised and prejudicial agenda which she has relentlessly pursued with regard to Sri Lanka".

The government contends that "it has nevertheless continued to make significant progress in its own reconciliation process and has continued to regularly update the Council on such progress". The government "reiterates its categorical rejection of the conclusions and recommendations contained in the report, which reflects bias and is tantamount to an unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state".

Sri Lanka said the report gave scant or no regard to the domestic processes ongoing in the country within the framework of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and its action plan of implementation. Pillay's report is being seen as a preamble to the next US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the UN rights body late next month. 


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