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UK promises push for probe

2013 Nov 07

British Prime Minister David Cameron will urge a “thorough” investigation into the fate of thousands of missing people in Sri Lanka when he attends a Commonwealth summit in the country, British Foreign Secretary William Hague has promised.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph on Thursday, the Foreign Secretary endorses a call made by this newspaper for a new inquiry into disappearances in Sri Lanka. The United Nations has recorded 5,676 “outstanding cases” of missing people – more than anywhere else in the world, apart from Iraq.

During an investigation in Sri Lanka last month, The Daily Telegraph highlighted the disappearances of Anton Saniston Manuel, a fisherman who was kidnapped by suspected state agents in 2008, and Prageeth Eknaligoda, a journalist who was abducted in 2010 after criticising President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“We will raise the cases of people who have disappeared and call for thorough, open investigations into their fate,” writes Mr Hague.

Labour has urged the Government to boycott the Commonwealth summit, which begins next Friday, because of the Sri Lankan government’s human rights record. Mr Hague acknowledges that “appalling alleged violations of human rights” took place in 2009, when the army won the civil war by crushing the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in a final battle that claimed about 40,000 lives.

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