Sri Lankan under fire over rights abuses

NEW YORK, Aug 6, 2007 (AFP) – Unlawful killings, abductions and other violations by government forces in Sri Lanka have increased dramatically amid escalating conflict on the island, a human rights group said Monday. Victim and eyewitness accounts indicate a “shocking” rise in such abuses since 18 months ago, when major fighting between the military and the Tamil Tiger rebels resumed, New York-based Human Rights Watch said.

“The Sri Lankan government has apparently given its security forces a green light to use ‘dirty war’ tactics,” Brad Adams, the group’s Asia director, said in a statement.

Members of the minority, mainly Hindu Tamil community had suffered most of the abuses, the group said in a new report entitled, “Return to War: Human Rights Under Siege.”

But some Sinhalese, the majority community on the Indian Ocean island, and Muslims had been affected too, the report added.

The abuses included abductions and “disappearances,” which had risen dramatically with more than 1,100 new cases reported between January 2006 and June this year, the vast majority involving Tamils, Human Rights Watch said.

The majority “of recent ‘disappearances’ implicate government forces or armed groups acting w

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