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Lanka president does U-turn on vow to probe wartime atrocities

Posted in S. Asia

Published on March 10, 2019 with No Comments

Taking a U-turn on Sri Lanka’s pledges to the UNHRC over wartime atrocities against Tamils, President Maithripala Sirisena has said the country needs “space” to settle its own problems “without interference” over the issue.

Sirisena also announced that he would be sending his own team to counter the allegations against Sri Lanka at the ongoing UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva. “On March 22 and 23, our issue will be taken up. I am sending my representatives,” Sirisena shared with media.

Sri Lankan government troops were accused of killing at least 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians in the final months of the island’s 37-year guerrilla war that ended in May 2009 with the death of LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Sirisena, who after coming to power in January 2015 had pledged to ensure accountability for war-time abuses, said Sri Lanka had moved on after the end of the separatist war now for over 10 years. “We need space to settle our own problems without interference,” Sirisena said.

The UNHRC resolutions since 2013 had censured Sri Lanka on its alleged human rights abuses. They called for probing of rights abuses by both LTTE and the government troops by setting up an international investigation. The UNHRC session is expected to review Sri Lanka’s progress since the resolution co-sponsored by Sri Lanka along with the US in 2015. Although Sri Lanka has taken some steps to implement the resolution, the Tamil community has complained about the slow speed and the inadequacy of the progress. 

 

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