New Delhi/Geneva, Mar.22 (ANI): India was among 24 countries that voted against Sri Lanka today at a session of the United Nation Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The top UN human rights body had passed a resolution, sponsored by the US, that Sri Lanka must properly investigate alleged war crimes during its 26-year conflict with the rebel Tamil Tigers.
Explaining India's decision to vote in favour of the UN resolution, a government spokesman said that New Delhi has said that Sri Lanka should be provided time and space to achieve the objectives of reconciliation and peace.
The spokesman also said that the United States had to have the primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights, adding that India has urged Sri Lanka to take forward measures for accountability and promote human rights that it has committed to.
Fifteen countries, including China and Russia backed Sri Lanka, which had rejected the resolution, which it described as an unwarranted intereference in the country's domestic affairs.
Colombo also said that the passing of the resolution could hinder its reconciliation process.
Eight countries abstained from Thursday's vote.
The Mahinda Rajapaksa-led Government and the rebel Tamil Tigers have both been accused of atrocities during their country's lengthy civil war.
Earlier this week, Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said in Parliament that India "is inclined to vote in favour of the resolution."
The Prime Minister had been warned that if India did not vote against Sri Lanka, the government's key ally, the DMK, would pull out of the government.
Sri Lanka has asked India to reconsider its position.
The Sri Lankan delegation in Geneva said today that they understood India's domestic compulsions, but urged New Delhi to recognise that Colombo needs time to investigate the allegations against its defence forces as well as the LTTE, before settling accountability.
Human rights groups have claimed that nearly 40,000 civilians were killed in the final months of the war.
The Sri Lankan Government had created a committee, the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission Process, to study the allegations of war crimes.
But the United States was not satisfied with the action taken by Colombo and pressed the UN to pass a resolution "to encourage Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of its own LLRC and to make concerted efforts at achieving the kind of meaningful accountability upon which lasting reconciliation efforts can be built." (ANI)
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