SL panel fails to address rights violations
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.