UN rights chief calls for investigation in Sri Lanka

June 4th, 2009 - 10:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Geneva, June 4 (DPA) The United Nations human rights chief called Thursday for an independent investigation into human rights violations during the recently concluded conflict in Sri Lanka.
“A comprehensive process of accountability for human rights violations committed by all sides should be carried out,” Navi Pillay, the high commissioner for human rights said.

“I believe that accountability is a prerequisite for the attainment of justice and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans and, thus, a foundation for lasting peace,” she told the Human Rights Council.

The council had ignored her previous calls for an investigation. Last week the rights body held a special session on Sri Lanka, which ended with a majority of the 47 members backing a resolution which commended Colombo and made little demands of the government.

The resolution, passed with the support of China, Pakistan, Cuba and others, was seen as a blow to the European members and their allies who had hoped for a resolution which included a call for an investigation and more access for aid workers to displaced Tamils.

The government is accused of blocking aid and using heavy weaponry against civilians. The defeated Tamil Tiger rebels were said to have held civilians as human shields and prevented them from fleeing a crossfire.

Over 270,000 people were displaced and were being held in government run camps.

Pillay’s speech to the council focused on conflict and post conflict situation. She expressed concern for Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Colombia and Somalia.

She also focused on the impact the fight against militants was having on civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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