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
National

National Guard to withdraw from riot-torn Ferguson, Missouri

By Carey Gillam and Scott MaloneFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The governor of Missouri ordered the withdrawal on Thursday of National Guard troops from riot-torn Ferguson,…

National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…