UN human rights commissioner in Sri Lanka for four days

UN human rights commissioner in Sri Lanka for four days

- The high commissioner for human rights at the UN is on a four day visit to Sri Lanka

- Visit is to find reasons why Sri Lanka president is going back on his words for war crime probes

- Last year, Sri Lanka called for a judicial mechanism to prosecute war crimes

The UN's top human rights official, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, has arrived in Sri Lanka for a four days visit.

The visit by Zeid Raad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to Sri Lanka is amid concerns that the country's president is backtracking on promises to investigate war crimes.

Sri Lanka had committed to allowing foreign judges to investigate allegations against Sri Lankan forces but President Maithripala Sirisena last month said no foreign judges would be allowed in the investigation.

Sri Lankan troops are accused of killing at least 40,000 Tamil civilians in the final months of the civil war in 2009.

Mr Al Hussein visit to Sri Lanka will allow him travel to the former war zone and meet victims of human rights violations. He will also talk to top government officials, civil activists and religious leaders.

Speaking to the BBC last month, President Sirisena said Sri Lanka did not need to "import" specialists.

"We have more than enough specialists, experts and knowledgeable people in our country to solve our internal issues," he said.

In October 2015, Sri Lanka co-sponsored a UN Human Rights Council resolution calling for a special judicial mechanism to prosecute war crimes. Both the army and the Tamil Tiger rebels are accused of atrocities in the civil war that ended in 2009. As many as 100,000 people are thought to have died in the conflict.

 

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