India 'inclined' to back UN Sri Lanka war crimes vote

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - 12 March 2012
Image caption Prime Minister Singh said he wanted equality for Sri Lanka's Tamil minority

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said India is "inclined" to vote in favour of a resolution against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council.

The council is due to vote later this week on a US motion calling for a probe into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka as its civil war ended in 2009.

Both government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels have been accused of abuses.

Mr Singh has come under pressure from India's Tamil community to support the resolution.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party, representing Tamils in southern India, had threatened to pull out of the coalition led by Mr Singh's Congress party if India did not vote in favour.

Violations 'credible'

Speaking in parliament, Mr Singh said: "We are inclined to vote in favour of the resolution if the resolution will cover our objectives, namely the achievement of a future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka that is based on equality, dignity, justice and self respect."

He said India would study the final text of the draft resolution once it had been received.

The Sri Lankan government commissioned its own investigation into the war last year and the UN draft resolution calls on the government to implement its recommendations.

The Sri Lankan Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) cleared the military of allegations that it deliberately attacked civilians. It said that there were some violations by troops, but only at an individual level.

But another report commissioned by the UN secretary general reached a different conclusion, saying that allegations of serious rights violations were "credible" on both sides.

Human rights groups estimate that up to 40,000 civilians were killed in the final months of the war. The government recently released its own estimate, concluding that about 9,000 people perished during that period.

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