Sri Lanka’s parliament rejects UN probe
Sri Lankan MPs last week rejected, by a large majority, a new investigation launched by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) into crimes committed during the quarter-century-long armed conflict between the government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which ended in 2009.
The international investigation team, supervised by three international experts, consists of 12 staff, including investigators, forensics experts, a gender specialist and a legal analyst, according to the OHCHR. It was set up after a US-sponsored resolution was approved, in March, by the UN Human Rights Council.
Such probe “should not be carried out on the ground that such a course of action is detrimental to the process of reconciliation and peace and that it erodes the sovereignty, dignity and stature of Sri Lanka,” reads the parliament’s motion, according to AP press agency. An ethnic minority Tamil party voted against the motion. One of the two main opposition parties abstained, emphasizing the need to have a credible local mechanism to probe the rights violations. In May 2010, a Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission was set up. Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group and Amnesty International dismissed the initiative, saying it did not meet the minimum standards for reconciliation commissions.
Between 80,000 and 100,000 people were killed in the conflict.