Sri Lanka told to clean up human rights record

April 15, 2008 (AFP) – A team of top legal luminaries told Sri Lanka’s government on Tuesday to clean up its human rights record, saying an escalating war against Tamil Tiger rebels had brought with it grave abuses.

Updated The International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP), comprising experts from several countries, the European Union and United Nations, said the government did not appear interested in taking action.

“The IIGEP has… found an absence of will on the part of the Government of Sri Lanka in the present inquiry to investigate cases with vigour, where the conduct of its own forces has been called into question,” the panel said.

Their report also detailed reasons for the panel’s decision to pull out of Sri Lanka last month.

“The government is faced with an insurgency in which the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) conduct their hostilities through ruthless methods, not sparing the civilian population,” it noted.

“Sections of popular opinion suggest that human rights and respect for the rule of law should take second place to measures necessary to repel these hostilities,” the panel said. “The IIGEP rejects this opinion.”

Sri Lanka’s Attorney General C