Sri Lanka’s rights watch dog slammed for dropping investigations

July 18, 2006 (AFP) – A Sri Lankan watchdog has halted its probes into the disappearance of thousands of people so that the government can avoid paying compensation, the Asian Human Rights Commission charged Tuesday. Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission (HRC), appointed and funded by the government, has shelved some 2,000 current probes into people who have disappeared and are fead dead, the Hong Kong-based commission said in a statement.

It said the statutory independent HRC would only continue its investigations into disappearances, such as those from deadly fighting between political factions, if specifically requested by the government.

“The very purpose of the creation of national institutions such as the HRC was to create independent bodies to investigate violations of rights and to ensure adequate redress,” the Asian commission said.

“The board of the HRC has completely abdicated this responsibility and instead has expressly stated that it will cease inquiries into disappearances in order to avoid the payment of compensation to the victims’ families.”

There was no immediate reaction from the government.

The Asian commission said Sri Lanka had one of the worst records regarding disappearances