Rights group says 43 aid workers killed in Sri Lanka

Sept 6, 2007 (AFP) – At least 43 aid workers have been killed in Sri Lanka since early last year amid an escalation of fighting between troops and Tamil separatists, the Asian Human Rights Commission said on Thursday.

The AHRC said that another 14 people had gone missing since January 2006 as the government and Tamil Tiger rebels blamed each other for killing civilians, including employees of local and foreign charities.

“This alarming escalation of human rights abuses over the past years clearly shows that existing domestic mechanisms for the protection of civilians and delivering justice have totally failed to deter perpetrators,” the AHRC said in a statement.

It released a list of the 43 people it said had been killed, including 17 employees of Action Against Hunger who were shot dead in the embattled northeast of Sri Lanka. The government and the rebels have traded blame for the deaths.

The AHRC accused the government of acting as a “bystander” rather than as the organisation responsible for the protection of its citizens.

“No serious investigation has been initiated so far,” it added.

The statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission came days after the International Committee of th