UN rights chief, campaigners press for Sri Lanka probe

GENEVA, May 28, 2009 (AFP) – The UN human rights chief and campaign groups insisted Thursday that an independent probe should be held into violations in Sri Lanka although the UN’s top rights assembly turned down such calls UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay maintained her demand for an investigation into abuses allegedly carried out by both sides in Sri Lanka’s just-ended civil war, a spokesman told AFP.

“She still believes there needs to be an inquiry into very serious abuses,” spokesman Rupert Colville said on Thursday.

“An international one would answer the question marks in the clearest way,” he explained.

Although the Tamil Tiger rebels were accused of holding tens of thousands of Tamil civilians as human shields, government troops were alleged to have subjected rebel-held areas packed with civilians to intense, indiscriminate shelling.

On Wednesday, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution proposed by Sri Lanka and non-aligned states that welcomed Colombo’s pledges to seek reconciliation and resettle “the bulk” of displaced people within six months.

But it turned down the tougher approach advocated by Western nations, including the need to investigate alleged violations