New mass grave found in Sri Lanka ahead of UN rights meet

COLOMBO, March 1, 2014 (AFP) – Another unmarked mass grave has been found in Sri Lanka’s former war zone, police said Saturday, as Colombo braced for a US-led censure resolution at the UN rights forum next week. A family on Friday stumbled upon nine bodies buried in the garden of their home in the district of Mullaitivu, where the final battles of the island’s protracted ethnic war were fought in May 2009, police spokesman Ajith Rohana said.

“Remains of nine people had been found so far and the skeletal remains were taken for analysis by the judicial medical officer in the area,” Rohana told reporters.

The latest discovery came ahead of a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session starting Monday in Geneva where Sri Lanka faces the third US-led resolution in as many years criticising Colombo for its alleged failure to probe war crimes.

Last month, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre in Australia accused Sri Lankan authorities of exhuming mass graves and destroying evidence of civilian killings, a charge denied by Colombo.

Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse has said he is committed to ensuring investigations into any allegations of wrongdoing by his security forces and challenged his accusers