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UN Chief - Sri Lanka "resisting" investigations

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, criticized the Sri Lankan Government on the issue of "accountability" and for refusing to co-operate “to our many requests for an international investigation of what we say is widespread acts of killing of civilians."


She made the comments during a speech at a press conference in Brussels.


“We have pointed out that they have in the past attempted to hold national investigations of very serious acts of killings that occurred of NGO and humanitarian workers and these investigations were dropped," said Pillay.


“They do not have a very good record in holding serious investigations. Now, I am engaged in discussions with the Secretary General over what kind of mechanism would be acceptable. But as I said the bottom-line is that the government is resisting these suggestions," said the former South African judge.


 She also mentioned that “such a request has also been made by the (UN) Secretary General and we are working very closely with the Secretary General to hold the President of Sri Lanka to his promise which he made to the Secretary General that he will look into the issue of accountability and so we want to know what kind of mechanism is he setting up."


The UN Commissioner also mentioned that the Sri Lankan Government, both publicly and to the UN Secretary General stated that they would not allow her to enter the country.


Her call was reiterated by her colleague Rupert Colville a few days later.


"We still believe that something like the Gaza fact-finding mission is certainly warranted given the widespread concerns about the conduct of the war in Sri Lanka," said Colvile, referring to recent fact finding mission into the Israel-Palestinian conflict on the Gaza Strip earlier this year.


"It seems that more clarity is likely to emerge about who did what to whom and whether or not war crimes and crimes against humanity and other very serious war crimes were committed by one or both sides," said Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.


"The issue of some 240,000 - 250,000 displaced people living in what are in effect internment camps continues to be of great concern... We hope the government takes serious actions to fulfill these commitments in the very near future" he added.


The statement comes after publication of a US State Department report that contained reports of atrocities committed at the climax of the war earlier this year. Sri Lanka has so far categorically rejected all calls for investigations into war crimes.

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