SL panel fails to address rights violations
Last Updated: Tuesday, December 20, 2011, 10:03
Washington: A Sri Lankan investigation commission has failed to fully address the allegations of serious human rights violations by the army in its report, the United States has said.

In its report, the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission of Sri Lanka has cleared its army of deliberately targeting civilians during the final days of its war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

"While we are still studying the full report, I do have to say that we have concerns that the report, nonetheless, does not fully address all the allegations of serious human rights violations that occurred in the final phase of the conflict," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.

"So this leaves questions about accountability for those allegations, and so we urge the Sri Lankan Government not only to fulfill all of the recommendations of the report as it stands, but also to address those issues that the report did not cover," Nuland told reporters.

However, appreciating the important work of the LLR Commission, she said it has addressed a number of the crucial areas of concern to Sri Lankans.

"In particular, the report recognises and makes substantive recommendations in the areas of reconciliation, devolution of authority, demilitarisation, rule of law, media freedom, disappearances, human rights violations," she said.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake, has been in contact with various Sri Lankan counterparts, as has the US ambassador there.

"I would also say that we have seen the government's preliminary action plan, but we don't think it really provides the kind of detailed roadmap that we had hoped to see for fulfilling all of the Commission’s recommendations," Nuland said in response to a question.

"So those are the things that we are, in our private conversation, urging them to continue to work on, implementation of the recommendations in the report, and addressing those gaps that the report left," she said.

The US is looking for a response from the Sri Lankan Government to the US concerns, to hear what their proposed timetable their proposed roadmap is for remediating these issues, Nuland said.

"We have long said that it is better for Sri Lankans to take these issues themselves and address them fully. That remains our position, so now we want to see if the Sri Lankan Government will lead their country in the next step to ensure that there is full implementation of the recommendations that we have and filling in of the gaps. So let's see what they are willing to do going forward," Nuland said.


First Published: Tuesday, December 20, 2011, 10:03

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