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KL backing for Sri Lanka

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on May 24, 2009

The Star Online

GENEVA: Malaysia and China are among 12 countries supporting a Sri Lankan bid to try to quash Western censure of alleged human rights abuses committed during its final phase of war against the Tamil Tiger rebels, diplomats said on Friday.

Colombo declared total victory over the Tigers on Monday after cornering them in the north-east of the island and killing off their leaders in a climactic battle.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay last week backed calls in the West for an independent inquiry into possible war crimes in the tiny zone she said may have become a “killing field”.

Fending off outside criticism, Sri Lanka on Friday presented to the UN Human Rights Council a draft resolution stating the “principle of non-interference” in internal matters and respect for its sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.

The other countries backing the Sri Lanka draft are: India, Pakistan, Bahrain, Bolivia, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.

Western diplomats, who are also preparing a resolution to be presented at a special Council session on Sri Lanka on Tuesday, said Colombo’s developing country allies were likely to band together to deflect serious scrutiny of its record.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, speaking at a rally in Colombo, brushed off Western calls for a war crimes probe into acts by government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The United Nations said this week that the conflict had killed between 80,000 and 100,000 people since erupting into full-scale civil war in 1983. The toll includes unofficial and unverified tallies showing 7,000 civilian deaths since January.

Nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians, who followed or were taken by the Tigers as the military relentlessly cornered them, are now in crowded camps after fleeing in the final months.

Aid groups say that Sri Lankan authorities prevented access to the conflict zone and hampered the entry of life-saving medical supplies and evacuations of wounded people.

“Sri Lanka does not deserve to be praised, but rather condemned for blocking humanitarian emergency relief to thousands, (and) creating conditions leading to the spread of diseases,” UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said. — Reuters

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