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US says Lanka failed on probe

2014 Mar 08

The United States today noted that the Government had failed to conduct an independent and credible investigation into the death of thousands of civilians during the war despite two resolutions being passed at the UN Human Rights Council in the past two years.

US Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall, speaking at the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council  in Geneva today, noted that the US has now submitted a resolution calling on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to conduct an investigation into human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.

The US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power was earlier scheduled to speak at today’s session but had to attend an urgent UN Security Council meeting.

Sewall noted that while past incidents need to be investigated, the US draft resolution on Sri Lanka submitted to the UN Human Rights Council at the ongoing session, also calls for investigations to be conducted into recent attacks on journalists, human rights defenders and religious minorities.

“In past years we have learned that rigorous and systematic fact finding can play a critical role in helping countries heal wounds remaining from periods of conflict. Without such a process grievances go unaddressed and impunity is allowed to triumph creating a climate in which new abuses occur,” she said.

The US draft resolution on Sri Lanka is co-sponsored by the United Kingdom, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Mauritius.

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