UNHRC Resolution Passed: Sri Lanka To Face International Investigation
The UN Human Rights Council has voted for a resolution which paves the way for an inquiry into rights abuses at the close of Sri Lanka’s civil war. The resolution will pave the way for an international investigation into possible war crimes by both the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebels in the final stages of a 26-year civil war that ended in 2009.
The council’s 47 members voted 23 to 12 with 12 abstentions in favor of a resolution sponsored by a core group of nations, including the United States, that calls on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct a comprehensive investigation into allegations of serious violations and abuses of human rights by both sides.
The high commissioner, Navi Pillay, had urged the creation of an independent inquiry on the grounds that the Sri Lankan authorities had made little progress in investigating possible war crimes during the military operations that crushed the Tamil Tigers’ brutal rebellion to establish a homeland five years ago.
The document also expresses “serious concern” at events said to be still going on in Sri Lanka – including the intimidation of civil society, disappearances and torture.
Thursday’s vote was the culmination of years of mounting international pressure for a credible investigation.
India, which had supported tamer resolutions on Sri Lanka’s war in the last two years, backed both proposals, but abstained from the vote on Thursday, saying it was concerned about the creation of an external investigation with an open-ended mandate.
The focus of the investigation will be the carnage that unfolded in the military campaign at the end of the war, a time when up to 40,000 civilians are reported to have died, mainly as a result of heavy military bombardment of areas in which the military had encouraged them to assemble.
Watch the film “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” which documents war crimes and crimes against humanity committed at the end of the Sri Lanka civil war. The film is directed by Callum Macrae. http://nofirezone.org/watch