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HRW on Sri Lanka

June 19, 2009

HRW – Sri Lanka: International Investigation Needed

The Sri Lankan government’s announcement that it was ending its special inquiry into conflict-related abuses underscores the need for an international commission to investigate violations of international law by government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Human Rights Watch said today. “Sri Lanka’s presidential commission of inquiry started with a bang and ended with a whimper,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The need for an international inquiry into abuses by both sides is greater than ever.” The mandate of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry, which was established in 2006 and assigned to investigate 16 incidents of killings, enforced disappearances, assassinations and other serious abuses, expired on June 14, 2009 and reportedly was not renewed.

HRW – Tigers under the bed

Huge numbers of people are being held indefinitely behind barbed wire. Far from enjoying their liberation from the LTTE, they are prisoners, again. The government could hardly have devised a policy more likely to engender fear and suspicion. This is no accident. It is part of a larger policy to control all aspects of the postwar situation and root out enemies, real and imagined. In a country that is desperate for IMF assistance to avoid literally going broke, the army has announced a 50 per cent increase in its size, from 200,000 to 300,000. The government is also systematically harassing and threatening aid workers, the media and Sri Lankans who question the detention policy. It has refused visas to some humanitarian workers and kicked out others.

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