Sri Lanka faces international and diplomatic challenges as the government has spurned pressure from powerful Western countries over its human rights record, a senior minister today alleged. "Our leader (President Mahinda Rajapaksa) is being disliked because he is not pro-West," senior minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said while addressing a political gathering in the central district of Kandy. "As we know we are being threatened with international investigations against us.
No international force would be able to undermine us if we remain economically stronger and keep our heads high," de Silva said. Sri Lanka faces a third successive resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in March censuring the country on its lack of progress on human rights accountability and reconciliation with the Tamil minority after a bloody three-decade civil war. The government fears that the resolution may end up calling for an independent international probe on Sri Lanka's alleged war crimes during the final phase of the military battle that crushed the LTTE in 2009. The issue is being used by the government to whip up nationalist sentiment in its current poll campaign for the Western and Southern provincial council elections to be held next month. The government blames the pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora living in the West for instigating action against Sri Lanka.