News / Asia

    Foreign Minister: Sri Lanka Won't Cooperate With UN War Crime Probe

    Foreign Minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris speaks during a Foreign Correspondents Association (FCA) forum in Colombo, April 7, 2014.
    Foreign Minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris speaks during a Foreign Correspondents Association (FCA) forum in Colombo, April 7, 2014.
    Reuters
    Sri Lanka will not cooperate with a United Nations inquiry into alleged war crimes by government forces and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in the final phase of their 26-year war, its foreign minister said on Monday.

    The U.N., through a United States-led resolution, last month set an international inquiry into the alleged war crimes and human rights abuses after the island nation's government had failed to investigate them properly.

    Sri Lankan government has rejected the allegations.

    Foreign Minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris said the government had not accepted the U.N. investigations due to concerns over its legality, fairness, and some conflict of interest issues.

    "Where the government is required to do anything to support the investigation or to participate in it, the government will not do that," Peiris told a Foreign Correspondents Association (FCA) forum on Monday. "Nobody can come here without the cooperation of the Sri Lankan government."

    However, the government will not prevent anybody from giving evidence to any such investigation as there could be various views from different people, he said.

    A U.N. panel has found credible evidence that around 40,000 mainly ethnic minority Tamil civilians were killed in the final phase of the war due to indiscriminate shelling, mostly by the army. Sri Lankan authorities have rejected the allegation.

    Citing concerns over resurgent of terrorism activities, Sri Lanka last week banned 16 Tamil organisations including the separatists Tamil Tigers. Most of the banned organizations had been pushing for an international war crimes inquiry.

    It is still not clear how the U.N. would conduct its probe, Peiris said.

    "They will have to tell us what they want to do. But the clear policy decision had been taken that we do not associate ourself with the inquiry and we do not submit to the jurisdiction of the investigating committee," he said.

    Many rights organizations in the past have complained that Sri Lanka had rejected their visa requests, but the government has rejected the claims.

    The U.N. resolution urged Sri Lanka to investigate all alleged attacks on journalists, human rights defenders, members of religious minority groups and other members of civil society, as well as on temples, mosques and churches.

    President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said an economic boom in the post-war north could help reconciliation and many allegations by the West and international rights agencies are are spread by Tamil diaspora groups.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora