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UN rights chief calls for Sri Lanka probe

[AFP, Tuesday, 26 May 2009 14:50 No Comment]

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay on Tuesday called for an international investigation into attacks on civilians during the final stages of the civil war in Sri Lanka.

"There are strong reasons to believe that both sides have grossly disregarded the fundamental principle of the inviolability of civilians," Pillay told the UN Human Rights Council as it opened a special session on Sri Lanka.

"An independent and credible international investigation into recent events should be dispatched to ascertain the occurrence, nature and scale of violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law, as well as specific responsibilities," she added.

Pillay reiterated her concern about allegations that Tamil Tiger rebels prevented civilians from fleeing the combat zone in recent weeks and effectively used them as human shields.

She also highlighted reports that the government fired heavy artillery on the densely populated conflict zone, and allegations that the army may have killed rebels who were trying to surrender.

"Establishing the facts is crucial to set the record straight regarding the conduct of all parties in the conflict," Pillay said in her video message.

Her remarks came as mainly Asian and Western countries tabled two draft resolutions for the special session that were largely at odds in their approach to the aftermath of the conflict.

[Full Coverage]

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