Sri Lanka media freedom, human rights, law and order sliding

May 22, 2007 (AFP) – Cases of murder, abduction, disappearance and intimidation surface almost daily in Sri Lanka as the South Asian nation appears to be sliding into lawlessness and war. With a truce between the government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in tatters and peace talks long since abandoned, rights workers and the media fear the situation is spiralling out of control.

The government is pressing for a military victory over the Tigers, and a series of tit-for-tat clashes have left heavy casualties on both sides — as well as discrepancies over the true body count.

But away from the front lines, bloodshed is just as frequent and usually involves civilians, although it is seldom clear who is behind the day-to-day violence.

“The situation is out of control,” said Sunander Deshapriya of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, a private think tank.

“What we are seeing today is uncertainty. We do not know who is doing what. It is very difficult to find out who is responsible, violence is so widespread,” Deshapriya said.

“It is also very difficult to see the situation improving.”

Almost 5,000 people have been killed since December 2005,