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UNHRC told to act on Lanka

2014 Feb 17

Amnesty International, has in a written statement to the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council, said that the Council must help Sri Lankan victims of human rights violations.

The statement, which was made public ahead of next month’s session in Geneva, said that thousands of victims of human rights violations and their families have been denied justice, truth and reparation, as the Sri Lankan government concentrates its efforts and resources on blocking a credible international investigation of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the armed conflict between government forces and the LTTE that ended in 2009.

Amnesty International noted that long-standing and credible allegations of violations of international law by the Sri Lankan government forces and the LTTE during the armed conflict, some amounting to war crimes or crimes against humanity, remain unanswered.

It also said that there is substantial evidence that Sri Lankan government forces committed enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, intentionally shelled civilians and protected areas such as hospitals, and blocked food and medicine from reaching civilians trapped by the fighting. The LTTE is accused of using civilians as human shields, killing individuals who tried to escape and recruiting child soldiers. The Sri Lankan government continues to deny credible allegations of crimes under international law committed by its forces and to resist calls for independent international investigation, including of senior officers allegedly responsible, several of whom remain in positions of authority.

It also noted that activists and journalists — especially those advocating accountability, have been threatened, arrested and assaulted; religious minorities and their places of worship continue to be the target of attacks by nationalist Buddhist protestors with alleged government links.

Amnesty International urges the HRC to ensure an independent international investigation into allegations of crimes under international law committed by Sri Lankan government forces and allied armed groups as well as by the LTTE.

The human rights group also says where sufficient admissible evidence exists, the international community must ensure that those suspected of the crimes are prosecuted in genuine proceedings in full conformity with international standards for fair trial.  (Colombo Gazette)

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