Sri Lanka seeks to block UN resolution demanding probe into alleged war crimes

Colombo, Feb 26 (ANI): Sri Lanka is reportedly working to block a UN resolution demanding the country to fully investigate who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Tamil civilians during military operations against ethnic rebels.

A resolution calling upon Sri Lanka to fully investigate the cause death of thousands of civilians during civil war and to establish genuine reconciliation is to be tabled during a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR), which opens tomorrow.

According to The Independent, Sri Lanka is assiduously making efforts to block any such measure.

The move to pass the resolution follows the findings of a UN-appointed panel which last year said there were "credible allegations" both the Sri Lankan army and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were responsible for war crimes in the final stages of the decades-long civil war.

The panel suggested tens of thousands of civilians lost their lives in the last days and weeks of the combat and that Sri Lankan troops fired into a supposed "no fire zone".

While Sri Lanka rejected the report, it constituted its own internal investigation, the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

This report, which claimed the armed forces had not acted inappropriately, was rejected by the UN and criticised by human rights groups.

A large team of Sri Lankan officials, headed by Foreign Minister GL Peiris, is lobbying countries to oppose any resolution, saying such a move would damage ongoing reconciliation efforts.

A government spokesman, Susil Premajayantha, said rallies would be held across Sri Lanka in opposition to the move.

"We will organise demonstrations to show that the people of this country are with the government. They are against the Western forces. We have lobbied member countries [of the UNHRC] and the feedback that we have is very positive. We will be able to block any resolution against us," the paper quoted Premajayantha, as saying.

According to the paper, an earlier attempt to pass a resolution against Sri Lanka in 2009 failed, mainly because of the decision by India, Pakistan and other nations to adopt a different document that praised the Sri Lankan government for its treatment of refugees. (ANI)