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UN rights chief expects Sri Lanka report referral

UN rights chief expects Sri Lanka report referral

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is likely to refer a report that alleges that war crimes were committed in Sri Lanka during that country's war against Tamil Tiger rebels to the global body's Human Rights Council on Monday, the U.N.'s top human rights official has said.
The report, published in April, found evidence that Sri Lankan troops shelled civilians in no-fire zone and targeted hospitals in their push to finish off the Tigers during the final weeks of the civil war in 2009. The rebels, meanwhile, were accused of holding civilians as human shields, using child soldiers and killing people who tried to leave areas under their control. The United Nations says at least 7,000 civilians were killed in the last five months of the war.
Sri Lanka's government has rejected the report's findings and said it opposes any outside investigation.
Ban has said that he would welcome a mandate from the Human Rights Council, Security Council or General Assembly to launch an international probe into allegations of possible war crimes. To receive such a mandate, the report must first be referred to and then formally taken up by one of those U.N. bodies.
"I'm expecting him (Ban) to do it today," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told The Associated Press.
Pillay spoke shortly after delivering a speech at the opening of the Human Rights Council's three-week meeting in Geneva, during which the body is expected to take up the issue of Sri Lanka again.
The country's human rights envoy, Mahinda Samarasinghe, told the Human Rights Council that an international probe could jeopardize Sri Lanka's domestic peace process. He urged countries to wait for the government-appointed Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission to finish its work before taking further steps.
Rights campaigners say Sri Lanka's commission lacks credibility and impartiality.


Updated : 2022-01-25 05:01 GMT+08:00

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