US To Support UN Rights Resolution On Sri Lanka

Published February 13, 2012 4:00PM (EST)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The United States will support a U.N. human rights council resolution asking Sri Lanka to implement recommendations of a U.N. report on the island nation's civil war, an American diplomat said Monday.

The resolution would let Sri Lanka explain how it intends to advance ethnic reconciliation and accountability, said Maria Otero, under secretary of state for civilian security, democracy, and human rights, on a visit to the country.

A report written for the United Nations in 2010 found allegations of human rights violations were credible on both sides as the country's long civil war was ending in 2009. The U.N. and Washington have pushed for a full investigation of the alleged abuses, while Sri Lanka has defended its own investigation.

The government-appointed Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission cleared Sri Lanka's military of allegations it deliberately targeted civilians and deprived them of food and medicine as a tactic of war. It said some violations by individual soldiers need further investigation. It said however the Tamil Tiger rebels routinely violated international humanitarian law.

Otero commended the commission report but said "it has shortcomings on accountability."

"I urged the Sri Lankan government to share the details of their plans and begin fulfilling the recommendations called in the report and to credibly address outstanding issues of accountability," she said.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa assured American diplomats the commission report would be implemented "in a comprehensive manner," Otero said.

If Sri Lanka's own efforts have shortcomings, pressure will grow for an international investigation, said Robert O. Blake, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs.

Efforts are being made to bring a U.N. resolution before the Human Rights Council at its meeting starting Feb. 27 in Geneva. The discussions about it are ongoing.

By Salon Staff

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