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Blake in Lanka as UNHRC meets to discuss rights abuses -

[PTI, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 07:14 No Comment]

Colombo, Sept 12 (PTI) Sri Lanka today said the global community cannot raise issues of rights violations against it unless guided by "political reasons," as a top US official arrived here coinciding with the UN rights council meeting to discuss alleged war crimes during the LTTE conflict.

The UN Human Rights Council is set to meet today and on its agenda are discussions over Sri Lanka, and allegations of rights abuses in that country.

On the same day, Assistant US Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake, arrived here on a three-day visit during which he is expected to discuss with political leaders and civil society the issue that has created considerable friction between Sri Lanka and the West.

Rajiva Wijesinha, a parliamentarian and one of the government”s international spokesmen, said today that the country has already dismissed allegations of rights abuses levelled against it.

"We have sufficiently proved that allegations contained in the Darusman report are unsubstantiated and lacked evidence to back them," Wijesinha said.

"So unless there are political reasons there cannot be any issues against Sri Lanka," he said, citing the work of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and a report issued by the presidential task force on rehabilitation, reconstruction and reconciliation addressing the international aid agencies.

His comments came as Blake landed in Colombo. The Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asian Affairs is to meet government leaders, civil society and university students, diplomatic sources said.

With the reconciliation commission appointed by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa preparing to issue its final report on November 15, Blake is likely to take keen interest on its proceedings.

The LLRC was mandated to look back at the conflict with the LTTE between February 2002 and May 2009, and is currently probing the two documentaries aired by the UK”s Channel 4 television that showed footage of alleged rights violations.

The documentaries accused Sri Lanka of resorting to large scale rights abuses during the final phase of the military campaign that ended the three decades old ethnic conflict with the LTTE.

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