Sri Lankan clergy protest UN rights resolution

AP News
Posted: Mar 19, 2012 10:43 AM
Sri Lankan clergy protest UN rights resolution

Hundreds of Buddhist monks and other religious clergy Monday participated at a ceremony praying for the defeat of a U.N. resolution calling on Sri Lanka to probe wartime human rights abuses.

Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian clergy carrying national flags and preceded by traditional drummers paraded in Colombo and later read out a statement of resolve that Sri Lankans may defeat the resolution expected to be brought to the U.N. Human Rights Council this week.

Sri Lankan soldiers defeated Tamil Tiger rebels to end a quarter-century civil war in 2009. Both sides have been accused of serious human rights violations.

The statement says "evil forces both local and international, have joined hands to deprive Sri Lanka of the present environment of peace...and take this blessed island back to an era of darkness."

"We therefore pledge with national determination that the Sri Lankan government and people will be able to defeat the resolution and the evil forces behind it."

Sri Lanka's government sees the United States-backed resolution as interference and has organized protests and religious events to oppose the resolution.

A U.N. report has said tens of thousands of civilians may have been killed in the final months of the civil war. It accused the government forces of deliberately targeting civilians and depriving food and medicine for those trapped in the war zone.

The rebels were accused of recruiting child soldiers and holding civilians as human shields.

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