Aug. 26 - Pro-government supporters in Sri Lanka scuffle with Colombo police during protest against U.N. human rights official's visit. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
About 150 pro-government activists protested in Colombo on Monday against a visit by the U.N. human rights official. Navi Pillay, who arrived in Sri Lanka on August 25 for a week is heading a fact-finding mission to address alleged war crimes. She is the first senior UN official to visit the country since the end of a nearly three-decade-long bloody conflict in 2009, despite Colombo extending an invitation to the body more than two years ago. The Sri Lankan government, which defeated separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, has faced criticism for not doing enough to bring to justice those responsible for rights abuses and to foster reconciliation in the polarised nation. Protesters carrying placards, some reading "Go To Iraq Not to Sri Lanka", said Pillay is unwelcome in their country. "Navi Pillay is a woman who has been against us from the day the war was over. When Americans were killing in Afghanistan, who criticised them? When Iraq was being destroyed who criticised them? Where is human rights in Syria? When we were at war in Sri Lanka people died, what can u do about it. There are thousands of our youth who are disabled," said Ithekande Sadatissa, leader of Ravana Balaya, a pro-government civic group. Pillay is set to visit the former war torn north and east of the Island and hold talks with civil societyleader, senior government and opposition politicians while in the country. As many as 40,000 civilians were killed in the last months of the conflict, as government troops advanced on the last stronghold of the rebels fighting for an independent homeland, a U.N. panel said in 2011. It blamed both Sri Lankan troops and the Tamil Tigers for atrocities, but singled out the army for most of the responsibility. Colombo has rejected the allegations and resisted pressure to allow an independent commission to investigate its military, saying a wide range of recommendations made by its own body, the Lessons Learnt Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), are being implemented.