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Joint HRW & Japanese NGO letter

October 26, 2009

Joint Letter to Japanese Foreign Minister on Sri Lanka

22 October 2009

Katsuya Okada

Foreign Minister

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Kasumigaseki 2-2-1

Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8919

Re: Sri Lanka

Dear Foreign Minister,

We write to you on the occasion of your inauguration as foreign minister of Japan to encourage you to make the promotion and protection of human rights a central priority in Japan’s relations with Sri Lanka. In particular, there is an urgent need to address the plight of approximately 250,000 displaced civilians detained in camps by the Sri Lankan government, and establish an independent international investigation into serious violations of international humanitarian law during the recent conflict.

Japan has long been a good friend of Sri Lanka. It has demonstrated its concern about the economic advancement and well-being of Sri Lanka’s citizens by acting as co-chair of the peace process and by being the largest donor to Sri Lanka.

The end of the quarter-century long armed conflict with the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) creates new opportunities for Sri Lanka to ensure a rights-respecting society. But since the defeat of the LTTE in May, the Sri Lankan government has made little effort to improve the human rights situation or to reach out to the minority Tamil population, undermining efforts by Japan and the international community to facilitate development and reconciliation, which are necessary for a future peaceful Sri Lanka. More

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