Sri Lanka has failed to redress human rights violations: rights group

[JURIST] The government of Sri Lanka [JURIST news archive] has failed for the past two decades to redress alleged human-rights violations such as torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings, according to an Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] report [text, PDF] published Thursday. As early as 1991, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances [official website] had received more than 15,000 reports of enforced disappearances, according to AI's report, which also says the Sri Lankan government has not seriously tried to address alleged human rights abuses. AI called for the establishment of an international commission [news release] to investigate allegations of international human rights law abuses made against the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [JURIST news archive]. AI also urged the UN to use the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] to investigate reported violations.

Last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] asked [transcript; JURIST report] Sri Lanka's government to conduct a "proper investigation" of any "credible allegations of violations of humanitarian law" arising from the recent conflict between the government and the LTTE that ended last month with the military collapse of the Tigers and the killing of its leaders. Last month, the Council of the European Union [official website] called for an independent inquiry [conclusions, PDF; JURIST report] into possible war crimes committed during fighting between the Sri Lankan government and LTTE. In March, the Sri Lankan government denied [JURIST report] allegations by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile; JURIST news archive] that 2,800 civilian deaths caused by recent military action against the LTTE may constitute war crimes.

 

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