*

upload_article_image

Sri Lanka averts rift spilling over to UN rights session

Sri Lanka's leader has abandoned plans to oppose his prime minister's support of a United Nations resolution that would give the island nation more time to address war crime allegations stemming from its long civil war.

On the U.N. human rights council agenda this week is a report by High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet criticizing Sri Lanka for failing to fulfill its pledge to investigate alleged atrocities by the military and now-defunct Tamil Tiger rebels. The co-resolution up for adoption on Thursday would extend Sri Lanka's deadline by two years.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena came into power in 2015 promising to help the war-torn country reconcile, including by investigating allegations during the rule of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. With an eye toward upcoming elections, Sirisena has changed his stance.

FILE - In this April 6, 2015, file photo, Sri Lankan ethnic Tamil women sit holding placards with portraits of their missing relatives as they protest out side a railway station in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has kept his country’s internal political rift from spilling over to a United Nations human rights council meeting this week by abandoning plans to oppose his prime minister’s decision to co-sponsor a resolution that would give the island nation more time to address war crime allegations stemming from its long civil war. The co-resolution to be adopted on March 21, 2019, would give Sri Lanka two more years to investigate and prosecute suspects of rights violations. (AP PhotoEranga Jayawardena, File)

FILE - In this July 18, 2017, file photo, a Sri Lankan man known as Witness #199 shows the scars on his back during an interview in London. He is one of more than 50 ethnic Tamil men seeking political asylum in Europe, after they were, they said, abducted and tortured under Sri Lanka's current regime. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has kept his country’s internal political rift from spilling over to a UN human rights council meeting this week by abandoning plans to oppose his prime minister’s decision to co-sponsor a resolution that would give the island nation more time to address war crime allegations stemming from its long civil war. The co-resolution to be adopted on March 21, 2019, would give Sri Lanka two more years to investigate and prosecute suspects of rights violations. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein, File)

FILE- In this Tuesday Feb. 28, 2017 file photo, Mathiaparanan Abraham Sumanthiran, a lawmaker from the Tamil National Alliance, listens to a question during a meeting with a group of journalists in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has kept his country’s internal political rift from spilling over to a UN human rights council meeting this week by abandoning plans to oppose his prime minister’s decision to co-sponsor a resolution that would give the island nation more time to address war crime allegations stemming from its long civil war. The co-resolution to be adopted on March 21, 2019, would give Sri Lanka two more years to investigate and prosecute suspects of rights violations. “Our position is that the international supervision should be extended and if it is not, Sri Lankan issue will be a finished matter in the human rights council,” M.A. Sumanthiran, spokesman of the Tamil National Alliance said in a Tamil radio interview. (AP Photo Gemunu Amarasinghe, File)