Sri Lankan monks protest UN rights resolution

AP News
Posted: Mar 14, 2012 8:38 AM
Sri Lankan monks protest UN rights resolution

Hundreds of Buddhist monks on Wednesday marched in Sri Lanka's capital to urge the United States to withdraw its support for a proposed U.N. rights body resolution on alleged abuses during the country's civil war.

The monks blocked traffic on a main road as they marched from a Buddhist temple to the U.S. Embassy. Five were allowed to enter the building and deliver a letter that called on the U.S. not to "inconvenience and embarrass" Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka's government has organized protests against the proposed resolution, which calls on Sri Lanka to investigate allegations of abuses by both government troops and ethnic Tamil rebels in the final months of the war in 2009. The U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva is expected to vote on it next week.

According to a U.N. report, tens of thousands of ethnic Tamil civilians may have been killed in the final months of the 25-year civil war. It said most of the deaths occurred due to shell fire by government forces.

The government has rejected the report and its own reconciliation commission has cleared the military of deliberately targeting civilians.

The United States says that commission did not address some of the main abuse allegations and has introduced the draft resolution in the U.N. rights council calling for them to be investigated.

Meanwhile, India's External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said Wednesday that his country hopes its Sri Lankan neighbor "acts decisively and with vision" toward reconciliation with minority Tamils by continuing power sharing talks.

The Indian government has been under pressure from lawmakers, largely from the southern state of Tamil Nadu, home to some 60 million Tamils, to support the proposed resolution at the rights council.

Krishna however said that a decision will be taken only after the resolution is tabled and discussed.

India was a strong backer of Sri Lanka's military campaign to defeat Tamil Tiger rebels after a failed military intervention in 1987.

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