US to move fresh rights resolution against SL

Colombo: The US will move a fresh Sri Lanka specific resolution at the forthcoming sessions of the UN Human Rights Council, pressurising Colombo to deliver on promises to investigate its military for war crimes during the last phase of civil war, a top American official said on Monday.

"The US has decided to sponsor a procedural resolution at the March 2013 sessions of the UNHRC," James R Moore, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, told reporters here.

Sri Lanka had made some progress but more remains to be done on human rights accountability and reconciliation, Moore said.

"The US and the other 23 members of the UNHRC who voted for that resolution in 2012 believe that the government of Sri Lanka needs to fulfil its commitments made to its own people," Moore said.

Sri Lankan forces had crushed Tamil rebels in May 2009 after nearly three decades of brutal fighting. The conflict claimed up to 1,00,000 lives, according to UN estimates, and both sides are accused of war crimes.

Moore, who is leading a high-level delegation including Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence Vikram Singh and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jane Zimmerman, also met with Sri Lanka's powerful Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse.

The US moved and India backed resolution on Sri Lanka at last March's UNHRC sessions urged Colombo to expeditiously implement the recommendations of its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

Sri Lanka while formulating an action plan for implementation maintained that most of the recommendations were already put in to effect.

The UNHRC member countries would assess the progress at the next session in March, officials said.