Sri Lanka to study critical rights report

June 12, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s president has called for “careful study” of a critical report that said the island is failing to investigate grave human rights abuses, a spokesman said Tuesday. President Mahinda Rajapakse was speaking after an international panel said a commission appointed to investigate 16 high profile cases, involving murder and abduction, had failed to make headway since it began operating in November 2006.

“The president has directed that a careful study be made of the observations, concerns, and recommendations stated in this interim report,” spokesman Lucien Rajakarunanayake said.

The 11-member International Independent Group of Eminent Persons pointed out serious short comings in rights investigations on Monday.

“We remain concerned that current measures taken by the government and the commission to address issues such as the independence of the commission, timeliness and witness protection are not adequate,” the panel said.

Retired Indian chief justice P.N. Bhagwati said in the report that there was “hardly any noticeable progress” in promised investigations.

France’s new Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner is also a panel member, and he had earl