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UN resolution divides ethnic groups

Government's efforts to stave off probe alienate Tamils further

Gulf News

Colombo: The Sri Lankan government's campaign to stave off any UN call to investigate its wartime conduct is hampering efforts to heal long-simmering ethnic tensions, according to Tamil politicians, rights activists and clergy members.

Nearly three years after the end of a decades-long civil war that pitted the majority Sinhalese government against minority Tamil Tiger rebels seeking an ethnic homeland, the UN rights council is expected to vote this week on a resolution urging Sri Lanka to investigate allegations of human rights abuses and seek reconciliation.

Outside interference

But talk of a UN resolution calling for a probe and moves toward reconciliation has infuriated President Mahinda Rajapakse's government, which sees it as outside interference in Sri Lanka's internal affairs.

In Geneva, where the rights council is based, Sri Lankan diplomats have been quietly urging members of the 47-nation body to defeat the US-backed resolution.

The government is accused of further alienating Tamils by promoting Sinhalese settlements in predominantly Tamil areas, and disregarding all requests to share power.

The proposal's passage appeared to be one step closer on Monday when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Parliament that New Delhi was "inclined to vote in favour of the resolution."