[JURIST] Both the Sri Lankan government [official website; JURIST news archive] and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [group website; JURIST news archive] have committed human rights violations by attacking civilians in the Vanni region, according to a report [text, PDF] released Thursday by Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website]. The report alleges [HRW press release] that both sides "appear to be engaged in a perverse competition to demonstrate the greatest disregard for the civilian population.” HRW asserts that both sides have violated the Hague Regulations of 1907 [text], as well as Protocol I [text] and Protocol II [text] of the Geneva Conventions [materials]. Violations by the LTTE relate to the confinement of civilians to the conflict zone and putting civilians at unnecessary risk, by both confining them to an increasingly compact area and by employing civilians as forced labor on the battlefield. The alleged violations by the Sri Lankan armed forces include indiscriminate attacks, attacks on the "Safe Zone," and attacks on hospitals.
Last month, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile; JURIST news archive] issued a statement [press release; JURIST report] condemning the deteriorating conditions of those trapped in the conflict-ravaged north, calling for investigations and prosecutions for the killings and other human rights abuses. HRW has repeatedly accused both sides of violations, but since 2007 has focused on the government's de facto internment centers and its role in the increase in unlawful killings and other human rights violations [JURIST reports].