Sri Lanka blocks call for human rights probe

GENEVA, May 27, 2009 (AFP) – The UN Human Rights Council ended a special session on Sri Lanka’s conflict on Wednesday with diplomats failing to bridge an Asian-Western divide over whether to probe alleged abuses. “There is no reason for a probe. These are political statements made by various people. I don’t think we should get excited about it,” Samarasinghe said.

Some 80,000 to 100,000 people were killed in nearly three decades of civil war in Sri Lanka, according to a UN estimate.

Earlier Wednesday, the international Red Cross said it was still seeking access to all camps for displaced people and internees in northeast Sri Lanka, where relief needs were not being met. “We have not been able to come up with an unanimous outcome, but I am comforted that we have discussed it,” said the president of the council, Martin Uhomoibhi, a Nigerian diplomat.

Sri Lanka, backed by Asian countries including China, India and Pakistan, had tabled a revised draft resolution late Monday which glosses over Western demands for a probe into rights abuses by both the government and rebels during the long conflict.

As it was tabled before a Western proposal and as diplomats failed to find consensus, Sri Lanka’