COLOMBO: Sri Lanka ratcheted up criticism of the UN rights body yesterday, accusing it of repeated “vicious and baseless” allegations, as its chief visited the island to probe alleged war crimes.
Foreign Minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris told Navi Pillay that Sri Lanka “resents vicious and baseless positions which are incessantly repeated” against the island, which is emerging from decades of ethnic war.
“There is a perception in the country about the lack of objectivity and fairness in the treatment meted out to Sri Lanka,” the external affairs ministry quoted Peiris as telling Pillay.
“The minister added that Sri Lanka accepts constructive and justified criticism but resents vicious and baseless positions which are incessantly repeated.”
Pillay began a week-long visit to Sri Lanka on Sunday after Colombo appeared to drop its public hostility towards her and the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which has adopted two US-led resolutions against the island in as many years.
The UN rights chief had publicly called for a war crimes investigation into what the UN calls “credible allegations” that up to 40,000 civilians were killed during the final stages of the island’s separatist war that ended in May 2009. There was no immediate comment from Pillay’s office, but a UN official in Colombo said she will address a press conference before leaving the island on Saturday.
Sri Lanka has resisted foreign pressure for an international investigation into war crimes.