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Pillay for 'independent inquiry' into Lanka conflict

Pressing for an 'independent international inquiry' into the violence against civilians in the Sri Lankan conflict, UN's top human rights official Navi Pillay said there should be 'accountability for human rights violations' committed by all sides.

world Updated: Jun 05, 2009 11:54 IST

Pressing for an 'independent international inquiry' into the violence against civilians in the Sri Lankan conflict, UN's top human rights official Navi Pillay said there should be 'accountability for human rights violations' committed by all sides.

Highlighting the suffering of civilians caught up in armed conflicts, Pillay said there should be "unfettered humanitarian access to as well as freedom of movement for the displaced people held in closed camps in northern Lanka.

"A comprehensive process of accountability for human rights violations committed by all sides should be carried out," said Pillay, the UN High Commisioner for Human Rights.

"To that end, I have called for an independent international inquiry," she said.

Contending that the condition of civilians in armed conflicts is a cause of 'grave alarm,' Pillay asked the Human Rights Council to protect the vulnerable group.

Citing 11 countries where fighting is having a serious negative impact on lives of civilians, she said: "A neglect of basic human rights, as well as discriminatory practices are often to be found at roots of such conflicts".

In Afghanistan, for instance, there was concern "over the continuing high rate of civilian casualties in the context of the deteriorating security situation," she told the Geneva-based Council.