US to keep pressure on Sri Lanka to allow rights violations probe

Wednesday, 10 April 2013 00:57 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

COLOMBO, April 9 (Reuters): The United States will keep the pressure on Sri Lanka to allow an independent investigation of accusations of human rights violations in the final stages of the civil war and speed up reconciliation, its ambassador said.

Michele Sison said concerns over human rights and deteriorating democratic values had prompted her country to sponsor a second resolution condemning the Indian Ocean nation at the U.N. Human Rights Council last month.

“As we examine next steps, we will renew our consideration of all mechanisms available, both in the Human Rights Council and beyond,” Sison told foreign correspondents late on Monday.

She did not elaborate. Since the end of the war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in May 2009, Sri Lanka has repeatedly rejected calls for an independent, international probe into accusation of rights abuses. Tens of thousands of civilians, mostly Tamils, were killed in the final months, according to a U.N. panel.

Last month, the United Nations adopted the second U.S.-sponsored resolution calling on majority-Sinhalese Sri Lanka to carry out credible investigations into killings and disappearances during the war, especially in the brutal final stages.

It also voiced concern at reports of continuing violations including killings, torture, curbs on freedom of expression and reprisals against activists and journalists.

The resolution, as in the first one adopted last year, called on Sri Lanka to implement recommendations to address rights abuses recommended by its own local inquiry panel, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“Some form of credible investigation is in the interest of the government concerned,” Sison said.

“For when there are serious allegations of human rights violations, whether a government likes it or not, those allegations will persist until they are credibly addressed.”