October 6, 2011 (AFP) – Sri Lanka Thursday announced a new move to address human rights issues in the face of international pressure over war crimes allegations arising from the end of the island’s civil war. The government said it hoped to strengthen civil liberties and ensure better human rights compliance through the implementation of what it called a “National Action Plan”, which was approved by the cabinet on Wednesday.
Details of the plan were not disclosed, but a government statement said it would largely involve setting up committees to monitor implementation of existing laws and to ensure better understanding and respect for civil rights.
Sri Lanka narrowly avoided censure at last month’s UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, despite a UN expert report highlighting “credible” allegations of abuses by government troops in their final victory over Tamil rebels.
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Various foreign governments and rights groups have called for an independent probe into charges that the Sri Lankan army was responsible for thousands of civilian deaths in the last stages of the conflict in May 2009.
Colombo rejects the allegations and has refused to countenance an external investigation.