March 11, 2007 (AFP) – The founder of the French charity Medecins Sans Frontiers, who has worked in over a dozen war zones, says there is no quick fix to Sri Lanka’s current killing spree — his latest human rights challenge. Bernard Kouchner, 67, a former French minister who co-founded MSF (Doctors without Borders) in 1971, believes international monitoring is already making a difference on the troubled island.
But he said the work of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP), of which he is a member, should not be expected to provide an instant solution to a conflict in which 60,000 people have died since 1972.
The IIGEP was set up by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, who invited governments and international organisations to nominate individuals to ensure local investigators followed international rights standards.
“Don’t expect a quick victory,” Kouchner told AFP here in an interview Saturday at the end of an eight-day visit, his second in a month.
“After one year, you will ask if we have changed the world. No. We are not arrogant like that.”
The IIGEP will investigate 15 unsolved atrocities blamed either on government forces or Tamil Tiger rebels, including the massacre