Lessons

COLOMBO, February 19, 2014 (AFP) – A Sri Lankan delegation headed to South Africa Wednesday to study the work of a post-apartheid truth commission as pressure mounts on Colombo to address allegations of war crimes against ethnic Tamils. Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva was leading a five-member team which would see what lessons it could learn from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up after the demise of the white supremacist regime in South Africa two decades ago, his spokesman said.

“The delegation will spend two days studying the TRC and also keep the South African President (Jacob Zuma) informed about the reconstruction work we have done in the northeast,” the spokesman Viraj Abeysinghe told AFP.

The visit comes amid a push by UN human rights chief Navi Pillay for an international investigation into claims that Sri Lankan troops killed up to 40,000 civilians in the final stages of a war with separatist rebels.

Most of the fighting during the 37-year conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels was concentrated in the northeast, large parts of which were reduced to rubble by the end of the war in 2009.

Pillay is due to formally ask the UN Human Rights Council next month for the probe while noting that Sri Lanka