Sri Lanka rejects UN rights call

Country will not cooperate with investigation

The Sri Lankan government has stated it will not assist a United Nations probe into human rights abuses.

Following a vote on March 27, the UN adopted the US-sponsored resolution to fully examine Sri Lanka’s record on human rights, in light of its recent conflict against the Tamil Tigers and following a direct appeal from Catholic priests on the island nation.

On March 13, The Irish Catholic reported on the signing, by 205 clerics, of a letter of appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Council for a full investigation into allegations of widespread abuses in Sri Lanka over a 30-year period.

The letter came in the wake of the discovery in December of a mass grave containing the remains of 80 men, women and children. The priests stressed that appeals locally for truth in relation to human rights had brought “threats and intimidation”.

The latest resolution is the third UN attempt to call Sri Lanka to account for alleged abuses, and, in anticipation of a rejection by the government, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay stated that a full inquiry will take place outside Sri Lanka regardless of objections.

Following the UN resolution, Sri Lanka moved to ban 16 organisations representing Tamil diasporas overseas, a move which has been interpreted as an attempt to delegitimise the groups ahead of any testimony they offer the UN’s investigation.