US to support UN body’s resolution asking Sri Lanka to implement recommendations on abuses

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – The United States will support a U.N. human rights council resolution asking Sri Lanka to implement recommendations its commission made on the island nation’s civil war, an American diplomat said Monday.

The resolution would let Sri Lanka explain how it intends to advance ethnic reconciliation and accountability, said Maria Otero, under secretary of state for civilian security, democracy, and human rights, on a visit to the country.

Sri Lanka appointed a commission to investigate possible human rights violations after a 2010 report written for the United Nations found allegations were credible and warranted a full investigation.

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission cleared Sri Lanka’s military of allegations it deliberately targeted civilians and deprived them of food and medicine as a tactic of war. It did find that some violations by individual soldiers needed further investigation.

Sri Lanka’s report also said the Tamil Tiger rebels routinely violated international humanitarian law. The U.N. report found abuse allegations credible on both sides, particularly in the final deadly months of the quarter-century war that ended in May 2009.

Otero commended the commission report but said “it has shortcomings on accountability.”

“I urged the Sri Lankan government to share the details of their plans and begin fulfilling the recommendations called in the report and to credibly address outstanding issues of accountability,” she said.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa assured American diplomats the commission report would be implemented “in a comprehensive manner,” Otero said.

If Sri Lanka’s own efforts have shortcomings, pressure will grow for an international investigation, said Robert O. Blake, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs.

Efforts are being made to bring a U.N. resolution before the Human Rights Council at its meeting starting Feb. 27 in Geneva. The discussions about it are ongoing.


Source: The Canadian Press