U.S. to propose new U.N. rights resolution against Sri Lanka

US Assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia Nisha Biswal addresses a press conference while US ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele Sison (R) looks on in Colombo. Credit: Getty Images
US Assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia Nisha Biswal addresses a press conference while US ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele Sison (R) looks on in Colombo.
Credit: Getty Images

The United States will table a U.N. human rights resolution against Sri Lanka, a State Department official said on Saturday, putting new pressure on Colombo to address war crimes allegations.

The United Nations has already called on Sri Lanka to punish military personnel responsible for atrocities in the civil war that the government won in 2009, and Washington says the human rights climate on the island is worsening.

“Lack of progress in Sri Lanka has led to great deal of frustration and skepticism in my government and in the international community,” Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal told reporters in Colombo after a two-day visit.

“There hasn’t been sufficient action taken by the government to address the issues of justice and accountability. We heard from many people about people who are still unaccounted for, whose whereabouts and fates are unknown to their family members.”

Biswal declined to say what would be in the resolution to be tabled at the March session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, but U.S. Embassy officials have said it may call for an international investigation in Sri Lanka.

“We understand growing concern, frustration, and skepticism among many in my country and many in the international community that has led to increasing calls for international investigation and an international process.” Biswal said.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government, which finally crushed a 26-year rebellion by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009, has rejected calls for an international inquiry and said repeated requests from overseas were to please the large Tamil diaspora in the West.

A top Sri Lankan official said in Washington last week that an international inquiry into war crimes would bring “chaos” and insisted that the government’s national reconciliation process must be given several more years to work.

URGENCY

Biswal acknowledged the reconciliation process needed more time, but said credible steps had to be taken now.

“The culture of deterioration of human rights gives us great concern when churches and mosques are burnt down and people feel that they cannot practice their faiths freely and without fear. Then I believe the urgency that has gripped the international community is justified,” she said.

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron has said he would push for an international inquiry into war crimes allegations if Sri Lanka does not conduct its own probe by March.

Some Sri Lankans who met Biswal told Reuters that they had told her an international process was essential.

“We do not have confidence in a local investigation because that would be done by the military, who are accused of war crimes,” one activist from northern Jaffna peninsula told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

A U.N. panel has said around 40,000 mainly Tamil civilians died in the final few months Of the war. Both sides committed atrocities, but army shelling killed most victims, it concluded.

Separatist Tamil Tiger rebels renowned for the use of child soldiers and suicide bombings battled government forces from 1983.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Marshals, cops arrest fugitive after shootout in Queens

Federal authorities arrested a fugitive hiding out in Queens after he shot at U.S. Marshals and officers with the New York City Police Department.

Breaking: National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

News

Rock legend Neil Young files for divorce after…

The legendary Canadian rocker Neil Young has filed for divorce from his wife of 36 years.

Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Movies

Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood' is a…

Dakota Fanning plays Errol Flynn's (Kevin Kline) teenage gal pal in "The Last of Robin Hood," which takes a scandal and makes it dully empathetic.

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

Movies

Review: Pierce Brosnan gets a cut-rate Bond knockoff…

Pierce Brosnan tries to reclaim his glory days with the spy thriller "The November Man" but instead gets a sad DTV-style ripoff with lame action.

Music

Tiesto headlines Made in America

Electronic music legend Tiesto is ready to get in touch with his inner Rocky at the Jay Z-curated Budweiser Made in America festival this weekend…

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Career

Stop eating lunch at your desk

What are you doing for lunch today? If you are like most workers, you'll be eating at your desk - which isn't much of a…

Parenting

Lure your baby to sleep with Maroon 5…

These new renditions of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" are Maroon 5 like you've never heard them before.

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.