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NewsSri Lanka gov’t minister urges boycott of US goods

Sri Lanka gov’t minister urges boycott of US goods

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 A government minister urged Sri Lankans on Tuesday to boycott American products because U.S. support of a U.N. human rights resolution would encourage separatism in the island nation.

Government supporters hold a national flag during a rally against an American backed proposed U.N. Human Rights Council resolution on alleged human rights abuses during the country’s civil war, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, Mar 13, 2012. Sri Lanka’s government has been organizing protest rallies across the country since last month opposing a proposed resolution at the ongoing UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva, calling on Sri Lanka to investigate serious allegations of human rights abuses during the final stages of the country’s civil war.

Sri Lankan Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa speaks during a rally against a proposed U.S.-backed U.N. Human Rights Council resolution on alleged human rights abuses during the country’s civil war in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, Mar 13, 2012. Sri Lanka’s government has been organizing protest rallies across the country since last month opposing a proposed resolution at the ongoing UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva, calling on Sri Lanka to investigate serious allegations of human rights abuses during the final stages of the country’s civil

A resolution calling on Sri Lanka to investigate alleged abuses during the country’s civil war is expected to be voted on next week by the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Government troops defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels to end a quarter-century civil war in 2009, and Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa told a protest meeting that the resolution amounts to calling for the revival of the rebel group.

Sri Lanka’s government has organized a series of protests against the resolution. It believes the resolution is inteference and defends its own investigation, while human rights activists say Sri Lanka’s efforts have fallen short of international standards.

The resolution calls on Sri Lanka to investigate allegations of human rights abuses by both the government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels in the final months of the war. A U.N panel’s investigation found tens of thousands of people may have been killed, largely through shell fire by the government troops.

Weerawansa said the resolution would be destructive to the postwar atmosphere. “Instead of promoting ethnic reconciliation, it will hamper that process and would increase acrimony and rancor among the communities,” said Weerawansa.

“If we submit to this resolution, Tiger terrorists will raise their head again.”

He called on people to boycott American brands such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, KFC, McDonalds and Google’s email service Gmail.

“We must show our protest even in a small manner to U.S. for the ill-treatment they are throwing at us,” Weerawansa said.

The U.S. is canvassing support for the resolution and is expected to introduce it.

By BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI
The Associated Press

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