Sri Lanka rights probe urged by US lawmakers

WASHINGTON, December 18, 2010 (AFP) – Dozens of US lawmakers on Friday urged a global probe into alleged rights violations by Sri Lanka in the last stages of its civil war, saying Colombo’s own efforts do not ensure accountability. In letters to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 17 senators and 30 members of the House of Representatives called for the United States to seek a United Nations role investigating last year’s finale of the Tamil Tiger insurgency.

“We strongly believe that any conclusions reached by the Sri Lankan government’s commissions must be verified by a parallel international mechanism” backed by the United Nations, the senators wrote.

“Without a means of verification, any findings will lack credibility and true accountability,” said the letter, led by Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina.

The senators said that accountability was essential to ensuring reconciliation and warned that history is “littered with failed attempts to bring peace.”

“We do not want Sri Lanka to be another one of those failed steps,” they wrote.

In a separate letter, the House members urged the United States to use its presidency of the UN Security C