Sri Lanka abused human rights: US report

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka violated human rights last year as it dealt a final blow to Tamil Tiger insurgents and clamped down on media freedom, the US State Department said Thursday. But the State Department also reported some improvements.

It said that the number of disappearances went down with the end of the war and found that Sri Lanka made “significant progress” in reducing the use of child soldiers by the pro-government Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal.

It also said that Sri Lanka improved conditions in detention camps for tens of thousands of Tamil civilians after an international outcry.

In December, Sri Lanka allowed civilians to leave the camps. The government said it had needed months to weed out Tiger partisans. But in an annual report, the State Department also reported some signs of progress since May when Sri Lankan forces defeated the Tigers who had waged a 37-year war for a separate Tamil homeland.

“The government’s respect for human rights declined as armed conflict reached its conclusion,” the State Department said.

It said that young Tamil men accounted for an “overwhelming majority” of victims of human rights violations, including