The UN's top rights official has begun a fact-finding mission to Sri Lanka after the government dropped public hostility towards her and promised access to former war zones.
Navi Pillay, who has previously been accused by Colombo of overstepping her mandate, arrived in the capital yesterday for a week-long mission that will include talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and visits to the former war zones in the north and east.
The government's U-turn came as Canada leads calls for a boycott of a Commonwealth summit scheduled to take place in the Sri Lankan capital later this year.
Sri Lanka has resisted pressure from the UN and Western nations for a credible investigation into allegations that up to 40,000 civilians were killed in the final months of its separatist war, which ended in 2009.
During her visit, Pillay is scheduled to hold talks with Sri Lankan rights defenders to discuss the "culture of impunity" that existed over the conflict, local rights activist Nimalka Fernando said.
Pillay's visit follows two resolutions by the UN Human Rights Council demanding Colombo hold an independent investigation into "credible allegations" that troops shelled hospitals and refugee camps and executed surrendering rebels. The government insists that its troops did not kill civilians.