Sri Lanka urged to act on human rights abuses

Jan 22, 2009 (LBO) – Britain has urged the Sri Lankan government to take strong action to prevent human rights abuses and called on both sides to the ethnic conflict to ensure the safety of civilians. “Creating an environment in which people from all communities in Sri Lanka live without fear is essential to creating the conditions for a sustainable end to the conflict,” David Miliband, British Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs said.

“There continue to be reports of abductions, disappearances and acts of violence and intimidation in Sri Lanka,” he said in a statement.

Without strong mechanisms for independent human rights reporting, it is difficult to assess the true scope of the problem, he said.

“We consistently call upon the government of Sri Lanka to take decisive action to tackle human rights abuses, including by taking action against those responsible for violations,” Miliband said.

Recent weeks have seen a considerable number of high profile attacks on media freedom in Sri Lanka, he also said.

“We condemn such brazen attacks. Of particular concern was the murder on 8 January of the Chief Editor of the Sunday Leader newspaper, Lasantha Wickrematung