London: Sri Lanka must hold an independent probe into possible human rights violations during its civil war, Britain has said amid a controversial visit by the island's President.
Mahinda Rajapakse was due to speak to the Oxford University debating society but his talk was cancelled following protests from ethnic Tamils, who had mobbed his arrival at London Heathrow Airport.
Britain believes Colombo "must develop a credible and independent process to look into reports of possible violations of international humanitarian law by both sides during the conflict in Sri Lanka," a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.
She added: "We have made this clear to the government of Sri Lanka, most recently when the Foreign Secretary met the Sri Lankan foreign minister in October."
Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris dismissed the calls for an investigation during a news conference in London yesterday.
"We have put in place what we consider to be the best, most effective and most pragmatic mechanism," the minister claimed.
Sri Lanka's Army defeated the Tamil Tiger separatists in May after nearly four decades of ethnic bloodshed in which the United Nations estimates between 80,000 and 100,000 people were killed.
First Published: Friday, December 03, 2010, 11:56