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Cameron sets March deadline for Lanka rights probe; Rajapaksa rejects demand

London would use its position in the UN to call for an independent international inquiry.

Written by Y P Rajesh | Colombo |
November 17, 2013 12:51:22 am

British Prime Minister David Cameron Saturday set a March deadline for Sri Lanka to complete an independent probe into the alleged violation of human rights of its ethnic Tamil population.

Cameron said if the investigation was not completed by March,London would use its position in the UN to call for an independent international inquiry.

Sri Lanka rejected the demand,with President Mahinda Rajapaksa retorting that “people living in glass houses should not throw stones at others”.

Cameron,who visited Jaffna,capital of the Tamil-dominated Northern Province on Friday,met Rajapaksa on Saturday morning.

“The Sri Lankan government needs to go further and faster on human rights and reconciliation,” Cameron told a news conference,adding that he had a “frank” conversation with Rajapaksa.

Cameron said the Sri Lankan president had sought more time to look into the complaints,and had not accepted everything that he had said. “I accept it takes time but I think the important thing is to get on the right track. This issue is not going to go away,it’s an issue of international concern,” Cameron said.

“Let me be very clear,if an investigation is not completed by March,then I will use our position on the UN Human Rights Council to work with the UN Human Rights Commission and call for a full,credible and independent international inquiry,” he said.

Rajapaksa,however,stressed Colombo’s stand that the government had appointed several committees to probe the allegations of rights violations,and that there was no justification for an international probe.

“It’s a democratic country. He (Cameron) can say whatever he wants,” the president told a news conference. He also said Sri Lanka needed time to look into the issues.

“We don’t do anything under pressure. It is better to request rather than demand or dictate. They have to trust us. Why can’t they trust us?”

The government’s chief spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said Colombo had anticipated controversies,but the CHOGM summit had still been a success.

“Everyone’s happy. The participants are happy,the general public is happy and we are getting very favourable comments from Sri Lankans living abroad,” Rambukwella told The Sunday Express.

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