Sri Lanka rejects foreign monitoring of human rights

March 21, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka Wednesday rejected any foreign scrutiny of its human rights record amid growing international criticism of extra-judicial killings, abductions and the recruitment of child soldiers. More than 4,000 people have been killed in the latest wave of fighting despite a truce agreed in February 2002. Government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said Colombo would not allow any unsolicited monitoring of rights in the embattled island, but would invite “eminent persons from time time to time” to assess the situation.

“Many eminent persons have visited Sri Lanka at the invitation of the government… that is because we have nothing to hide,” Rambukwella told reporters here. “But, that is by invitation.”

“We will protect our sovereignty and will not allow any foreigner to force on us a set-up to monitor (rights).”

Human rights groups have charged that at least 750 people had disappeared since the escalation of fighting between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels in December 2005.

The bodies of people who had been shot dead “execution-style” blindfolded with their hands tied behind their back have turned up in swamps and by the roadside near the capital and elsewhere.