Sri Lanka IMF loan slammed by rights body

July 23, 2009 (AFP) – Human rights campaigners on Thursday described a 2.5 billion dollar loan to Sri Lanka by the International Monetary Fund as “a reward for bad behavior”. Human Rights Watch said the IMF should have set conditions on the loan, including demands that the Sri Lankan government help re-settle nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians being held in tightly guarded camps.

“The IMF needs to change its approach,” Brad Adams, Asia director of HRW, said. “The IMF board of governors should make the release of each new tranche of funds contingent on tangible human rights progress.”

“To approve a loan, especially 600 million dollars more than Colombo even asked for, while they have hundreds of thousands of people penned up in these camps is a reward for bad behaviour.”

The loan was delayed after the United States, Britain and other countries said the government was not doing enough to avoid civilian casualties at the height of fighting with Tamil Tiger rebels.

Sri Lanka crushed the Tigers — who had been fighting to carve out a separate state for minority Tamils since 1972 — in May.

The island’s central bank chief Nivard Cabraal welcomed the propos