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Sri Lanka IMF loan should be contingent on human rights progress: HRW

[JURIST] The International Monetary Fund (IMF) [official website] should require the Sri Lankan government to address human rights abuses [press release] as a condition for a USD $2.5 billion emergency loan, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said Thursday. HRW claims that even after the 25-year civil war between the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [JURIST news archive] ended two months ago, the government continues to illegally hold more than 280,000 detainees. HRW Asia director Brad Adams said, "[t]o approve a loan, especially $600 million more than the government even asked for, while they have hundreds of thousands of people penned up in these camps is a reward for bad behavior, not an incentive to improve." The IMF is scheduled to vote on the loan on Friday.

Last month, HRW called for an international commission [JURIST report] to investigate human rights abuses that allegedly occurred during the civil war after a Sri Lankan government official announced that an internal investigation [JURIST reports] into human rights abuses during the conflict had ended. The announcement that the internal investigation had ended came just days after Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] the Sri Lankan government to conduct a more serious inquiry into possible human rights abuse cases, including the killing of 17 aid workers. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] recently asked [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. In May, the Council of the European Union [official website] called for an independent inquiry [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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