Author Topic: Sri Lanka to block UN rights probe  (Read 1710 times)

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Offline mayya

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Sri Lanka to block UN rights probe
« on: November 17, 2013, 15:55:23 PM »
Sri Lanka to block UN rights probe

November 16, 2013 
 12:05PM ET

Following pressure from UK prime minister, country says it will not allow investigation into alleged war crimes

Sri Lankan Tamil mothers from the 'Dead and Missing Person's Parents' hold photographs during a protest in Jaffna, 250 miles north of the capital Colombo on Nov. 15, 2013.Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images

A senior minister said Saturday that the Sri Lankan government will not allow an international probe into alleged war crimes during its 27-year ethnic conflict, despite mounting pressure from abroad. 

The comments of Basil Rajapakse, the economic development minister and brother of the president, Mahinda, came after British prime minister David Cameron pledged to push for a U.N.-led investigation into alleged crimes committed in the country's civil war, unless Sri Lanka credibly addressed human rights concerns by March.

"Why should we have an international inquiry? We will object to it ... Definitely, we are not going to allow it," Basil Rajapakse told AFP news agency.

Asked about the March deadline for the Sri Lankans to complete their own inquiry, the minister rejected any talk of a timetable being imposed from outside.

"They can't give dates. It is not fair. Even Cameron has said we need time. Even in Northern Ireland it took a lot of time," he said.

Denials of civilian onslaught

The Rajapakse regime has consistently denied any civilians were killed in the last stages of the war when government troops routed Tamil Tiger rebels in their last stronghold.

However, the U.N. and rights groups have said as many as 40,000 civilians may have been killed in the onslaught.

Cameron said he was moved by the "harrowing" testimony of survivors, who he met during his trip to the war-torn northern Jaffna region on Friday to meet local Tamils, only hours after a Commonwealth summit began in Colombo.
"We understand some of the things he said were aimed at his home constituency. He was addressing the journalists who traveled with him," said Rajapakse, thanking Cameron for attending the summit.

The prime ministers of Canada, India and Mauritius all did not attend the summit in Colombo in protest over Sri Lanka's human rights record.
Wire services