Sri Lanka urged to allow international probe of human rights abuses
The Sri Lankan government's failure to seriously address reports of human rights abuses during 25 years of civil war is even more glaring in the aftermath of its victory over the Tamil Tiger rebels last month, Amnesty International said Thursday.
The London-based rights group called for the immediate establishment of an international commission to probe abuses and also for the government to rapidly overhaul its justice system to bring peace to the country.
"If communities that have been torn apart by decades of violence and impunity are to be reconciled, the Sri Lankan government should initiate internal reforms and seek international assistance to prevent ongoing violations and ensure real accountability for past abuses," said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific director.
However, Sri Lanka has repeatedly resisted calls for international scrutiny, on the basis that it would jeopardize the country's sovereignty.
"These things take time, and we can't allow any possibility of injustice to happen," Rajiva Wijesinha, secretary at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights said in Colombo.
The government's own commission into allegations of human rights abuses is proceeding, albeit slowly, he added.
Sri Lanka's government defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels in a bloody offensive last month that left more than 7,000 civilians dead, according to the United Nations.
With files from The Associated Press