Sri Lanka parliament to debate UN rights probe

Sri Lanka's political parties are set to debate a government resolution on the issue
Colombo: Faced with a parliamentary motion on allowing a UN human rights investigation team into the country, Sri Lanka's political parties are set to debate a government resolution on the contentious issue.
The resolution says, "To demonstrate its commitment to protecting democracy and human rights and to protect the people's democratic rights and human rights, the government will undertake to conduct impartial investigations into the following incidents and submit a report to Parliament within three months and bring those responsible for the incidents to justice".
The opposition has said they would hold the government responsible for any international action against the country's human rights record.
The JVP or the People's Liberation Front said it would move an amendment to the government resolution which will be debated next week.
The deputy speaker of parliament Chandima Weerakkody said on Friday that the motion would be debated on June 17 and 18 after government MPs had noted the motion which said the UN rights body's action was a violation of Sri Lanka's sovereignty.
The resolution further said that "the investigation to be conducted against Sri Lanka by the United Nations' Human Rights Commissioner's Office 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".
The main opposition UNP's legislator John Amaratunga said the party was yet take a decision on its participation.
"We may move an amendment to it," he said. "By blanket refusal to engage with the team of investigators appointed by the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Sri Lanka is admitting guilt and depriving itself of an opportunity to make its case," a UNP statement said.
The opposition accuses the government of inaction on the rights accountability issue which they say has led to unwarranted international action against the country.
The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) had set in motion the process after the resolution adopted in March which censured Colombo on its lack of accountability and reconciliation with the Tamil minority following the end of the ethnic conflict.
Sri Lanka has also resisted repeated calls for an international probe into allegations that nearly 40,000 civilians were killed by government forces in 2009 during the last phase of the brutal 30-year civil war against the LTTE.
The country was warned that in the absence of a domestic accountability process, the UNHRC would set up its own international inquiry.
The government has said it will not support the UN investigation.
( Source : PTI )
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