Sri Lanka rejects UN rights probe, president tells AFP

Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe arrives with flowers to receive blessings at the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, Colombo, Sri Lanka on Wednesday 4 April 2018. On wednesday (4), Wickremesinghe survived a no-confidence motion in the Sri Lankan parliament with a 46 vote majority after a 12-hour debate with 122 MPs voted in his support while 76 MPs voting to remove the prime minister. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

COLOMBO, March 27, 2014 (AFP) – Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse rejected Thursday’s UN Human Rights Council resolution ordering a war crimes probe, telling AFP that he would instead press ahead with his own reconciliation plan. “We reject this,” Rajapakse said. “This resolution only hurts our reconciliation efforts. It does not help.

“But I am not discouraged. We will continue with the reconciliation process I have started,” he added in a phone call.

In a 23-12 vote, the council backed a Western-sponsored resolution which said it was time for a “comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka”.

Thursday’s resolution is the most serious censure demanding an international investigation into allegations that thousands of civilians were killed in the final months of Sri Lanka’s Tamil separatist war in 2009.

Rights groups have said that up to 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians were killed by Sri Lankan forces while defeating separatist rebels, a charge Colombo has denied.

Despite the overall vote, Rajapakse said he had drawn comfort from India’s abstention in Geneva which followed widespread expectations that New Delhi would su