Oct 11, 2007 (AFP) – A former Sri Lankan foreign minister on Thursday accused the government of failing to investigate extra-judicial killings and using “terrorism” to fight Tamil Tigers rebels. Government lawmaker Mangala Samaraweera said an ongoing visit to the island by the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, underlined the international focus on the island’s worsening rights record.
“Sri Lanka is also being branded a terrorist state because of our policy of fighting terrorism with terrorism,” Samaraweera said.
“The Arbour visit shows the international concern about what is happening here.”
Samaraweera was sacked by President Mahinda Rajapakse in February but remains a member of the ruling party and a vocal dissident and critic of the government’s handling of the Tamil separatist conflict.
The former minister accused the government of failing to investigate grave human rights abuses, including the massacre of 17 employees of the French charity Action Against Hunger in August last year.
He said the international community had condemned the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and branded them “terrorists”, but Colombo was also now facing cri