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Sri Lanka refuses to cooperate with international probe

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Colombo, April 8:

The Sri Lankan government Monday refused to cooperate with an international investigation into alleged human rights abuses in the country.

External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris said the government will not allow international investigators to visit Sri Lanka to conduct a probe, Xinhua reported.

( pic courtesy : endgenocide.org)
( pic courtesy : endgenocide.org)

Peiris told reporters in Colombo that an international investigation cannot take place on Sri Lankan soil without the cooperation of the government.

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva had recently passed a resolution calling for an international investigation into the war in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan army and the Tamil Tiger rebels fought a 30-year civil war before the rebels were defeated in May 2009.

Human rights groups and some Western countries pushed for an investigation into alleged war crimes committed during the final stages of the war.

Sri Lanka, however, rejected an international probe and instead appointed a local commission to probe the allegations.

The UNHRC had last month adopted the US-sponsored resolution which claimed that the domestic investigations fell short of expectations.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged the government to cooperate with an international probe.

However, Sri Lanka’s strongest allies China and Russia refused to back Pillay’s call while India also felt an international probe was unacceptable.

A formal request for cooperation has not yet been put forward, but if the government refuses to corporate then the Pillay’s office will conduct the investigations from outside Sri Lanka, which her office says is possible based on similar investigations carried out on other countries in the past.

(IANS)