Sri Lanka to discuss domestic probe with UN
February 21, 2015 11:39 pm
Sri Lanka’s government will next month look to win United Nations backing for a domestic probe into allegations of human rights violations during the final stage of the war, an official said today.
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera will travel to Geneva next month to meet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the foreign ministry had said in a statement, without giving details.
However, an official told AFP that the new Sri Lankan administration was keen to get his backing for the investigation.
“Minister Samaraweera wants to brief the Human Rights Council about the new steps that Sri Lanka wishes to take,” an official said, asking not to be named.
“Sri Lanka is looking for about two months to establish a new (domestic) mechanism,” he was quoted as saying by AFP.
The government has pledged a credible, independent investigation that may draw on foreign expertise and experience.
Last week, the UN postponed the publication of an eagerly-awaited report on a UN-mandated war crimes probe into Sri Lanka’s war, giving the new government time to prove its bona fides.
Zeid’s office in a statement last week said the report, which had been scheduled to be presented to the Human Rights Council early next month, would be published by September.
Samaraweera’s talks with Zeid come after the government secured parliamentary approval Thursday for a long-awaited witness protection law, a key demand of the international community to ensure accountability in the island.