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* Sri Lanka opposition parties to abstain from voting at the parliamentary debate on UNHRC probe
Sat, Jun 14, 2014, 11:12 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

June 14, Colombo: Main Opposition parties of Sri Lanka have decided to abstain from voting for the motion to be taken up for debate in the parliament next week condemning the UNHRC probe on the human rights violations in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan parliament scheduled the debate on the motion to condemn the UN probe for June 17 and 18.

The Parliament will debate whether to allow a team appointed by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) into the country to conduct a comprehensive investigation on the alleged war crimes committed by both the security forces and the Tamil terrorists during the last seven years of the three-decade long war.

A motion signed by nine ruling party parliamentarians against the international investigation on Sri Lanka was submitted to the Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake on Tuesday (June 10).

The motion submitted by MPs Achala Jagodage, Malini Fonseka, Janaka Bandara, Uditha Lokubandara, A.H.M. Azwer, Shantha Bandara, J.R.P Suriyapperuma, Nimal Wijesinghe and Duminda Silva argued that the probe is detrimental to peace and reconciliation of the island and it is a challenge to the sovereignty and pride of the country.

Chief Opposition Whip and United National Party (UNP) MP John Amaratunga told media that the proposal was comical since the government has already rejected the investigation at diplomatic level.

Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has also decided to abstain. The party said the motion is "nothing but a political gimmick of the government."

However, the major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is likely to vote against the probe, political observers say.

Political observers say the ruling party's decision to debate the proposal in parliament has created a difficult situation for the opposition parties as voting against the proposal can be interpreted as a move against the country and will not be productive as they anticipate presidential elections next year.

"Opposition parties have no choice but to abstain," one political analyst said.

** Related Story :: Sri Lanka parliament set dates to debate UN inquiry

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