Sri Lanka dismisses David Cameron's call for independent human rights inquiry

The Sri Lankan government has rejected the Prime Minister's pressure as cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan said he believes Mr Cameron has been “misled”.

David Cameron has once again called for a transparent and independent investigation into war crimes committed during Sri Lanka's 26 year long civil war, asserting that he backs a March deadline set by the UN.

Speaking to reporters during the Commonwealth conference in Colombo he said: “If that investigation is not completed by March then I will use our position on the UN Human Rights Council...and call for a full, credible and independent international inquiry.”

The calls by Cameron have however, once again been dismissed by the Sri Lankan government.

Basil Rajapakse, minister of economic development and the brother of the country’s president Mahinda Rajapaksa, told news agency AFP: “Why should we have an international inquiry? We will object to it … Definitely, we are not going to allow it,” he said.

His position was echoed by water minister, Nimal Siripala de Silva, who told reporters: “We will resist an international inquiry. That is the policy of the government.”

He dismissed the threat of UN pressure as “nothing new,” after several years of outcry from international human rights groups, the United Nations and Western governments. “We are confident to go before the UN Human Rights Council to contest this issue and impress upon them that Sri Lanka has done enough,” he added.

A UN report has suggested Sri Lanka's Sinhalese-dominated armed forces may have killed up to 40,000 minority Tamils toward the end of the war in 2009.

The continued defiance by the Sri Lankan government comes as retired Sri Lankan international cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan, a Tamil, said he believes the Prime Minister had been “misled” about the latest situation in the war-scarred north after his visit on Friday.

Following a meeting between the two at a cricket ground in the capital Colombo, Muralitharan said: “My opinion is, there were problems in the last 30 years in those areas. Nobody could move there. In wartime I went with the UN, I saw the place, how it was.

“Now I regularly go and I see the place and it is about a 1,000 per cent improvement in facilities...It is improving. Thanks to the Sri Lankan army, they are putting a lot of effort there.

“He must have been misled by other people. People speak without going and seeing the things there. I go on and off. I see from my eyes there is improvement.

“I can't say the Prime Minister is wrong or not. He's from England, he hasn't seen the site, he hasn't gone and visited these places - yesterday only.”

Asked about Muralitharan's comments at a press conference, the Prime Minister insisted he had given a “fair reflection” of the need for improved human rights in Sri Lanka.

“I think he acknowledged that I was right to come and right to visit,” he said. ”Of course I was told all sorts of things yesterday in the north and there are very strong views in this country, strong differing views on some of the issues.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software Tester

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software Tester is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Developer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The Company sells mobile video advertising sol...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have a vacancy within our ra...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - 1st Line Helpdesk - West London - £25,000

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - 1st Line Helpde...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project