Sri Lanka faces international inquiry over war atrocities

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Human Rights Council

An international inquiry to investigate atrocities committed during Sri Lanka's civil war has been given the go ahead by the UN Human Rights Council.

This follows the adoption of a resolution which allows the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) to monitor progress and undertake a comprehensive investigation into violations committed by both government and rebel groups during the civil war which ended in May 2009.

23 members of the council voted in favour of the resolution tabled by the United States, 12 voted against and 12 abstained.

Karen Pierce is the representative of the United Kingdom in Geneva.

"We welcome the positive steps Sri Lanka has taken so far. However there is an important gap in those steps and that is the need for genuine process to determine the truth regarding the allegations of war cries and serious violations and abuses which took place during the conflict. We regret that Sri Lanka has failed to take domestic action itself, despite two previous resolutions of this council calling for an independent credible domestic investigation."

Member states opposed to the resolution among them China, Cuba and Pakistan said it failed to appreciate efforts made by Sri Lanka to promote peace and reconciliation after the civil war and accused the sponsors of the resolution of interfering in the sovereignty and independence of Sri Lanka.

Ravinatha Aryasinha is Sri Lanka's representative in Geneva.

"Sri Lanka categorically and unreservedly rejects this draft resolution as it challenges the sovereignty and independence of a UN member state, violates the principles of international law, based on profoundly flawed premises and is inimical to the interests of the people of Sri Lanka."

Sri Lanka waged a bitter 26 year civil war against the Tamil Tiger rebels who were eventually defeated in May 2009.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 2:01″

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