Sri Lanka refuses external probes into alleged human rights violations

Sri Lanka refuses external probes into alleged human rights violations

[JURIST] Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama [official profile] on Sunday dismissed calls from Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] to publish the official death toll [AI press release] during the finals weeks of the armed conflict [JURIST news archive] that ended earlier this month. Bogollagama said that only Sri Lankan courts will be permitted [France 24 report] to investigate both alleged human rights violations and the number of civilian deaths that occurred during the final weeks of the conflict. AI has called for an independent investigation into the matter, while the UN Under-Secretary-General John Holmes [official profile] has said that it will be very difficult to accurately assess [Reuters report] such a number. Media sources have continued to decry the numbers circulated by Sri Lankan authorities and the United Nations as ranging as much as three times below the actual number of deaths.

The UN Human Rights Council [official website] adopted a resolution [text; JURIST report] last week that welcomed the end of the conflict but failed to call for an investigation into war crimes allegedly committed during the conflict. Aid workers and the international community have expressed concern over human rights violations during and after the Sri Lankan conflict. Despite a joint statement [text; JURIST report] issued by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa about allowing full humanitarian access to refugee or "welfare" camps, the Sri Lankan government has continued to restrict access alleging an ongoing security screening for any remaining rebels.