TIME Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Infuriated By U.S. Suggestions That It’s Tardy On Postwar Reconciliation

Police officers and doctors dig up skeletons at a construction site in the former war zone in Mannar
© Dinuka Liyanawatte / Reuters Police officers and doctors dig up skeletons at a newly discovered mass grave in a former war zone in Sri Lanka. The U.S. criticizes the government for moving too slow on probing alleged war crimes.

Washington says Colombo is moving too slowly in probing alleged war crimes. Colombo reacts predictably

Colombo has accused Washington of “polarizing” the country after a U.S. State Department official said the world was losing patience with Sri Lanka’s failure to achieve adequate reconciliation and accountability since the ending a civil war more than four years ago.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Biswal, said Saturday that the U.S. will sponsor a third resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council demanding that Sri Lanka address the issue.

Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Ministry immediately condemned what it said were “reckless and irresponsible statements without evidence,” AP reports.

The ministry said the criticisms raised by the U.S. only served “to polarize the communities” that had been affected by the 25 year-long war between the government and Tamil insurgents. The war ended in 2009.

In two previous resolutions at the U.N. human rights body, the U.S. called on Colombo to probe alleged war crimes on both sides. Sri Lankan troops have been accused of targeting civilians and hospitals during the conflict, while the rebels face allegations that they used civilians as human shields, recruited child soldiers and killed civilians trying to flee.

U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay has said that the Human Rights Council should launch its own investigation if the Sri Lankan government does not show sufficient progress on post-war reconciliation before the bi-annual session of the council in March.


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