HRW chief backs international inquiry into Sri Lanka war crimes

New York, Feb. 27: The Human Rights Watch has reportedly said that the UN Human rights Council should create an independent international inquiry into war crimes and other serious abuses committed during Sri Lanka’s armed conflict.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has recommended that an independent inquiry could achieve justice, accountability and redress.

Pillay’s report concluded that the Sri Lankan government has taken no significant steps to implement the recommendations on accountability of its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.

She found that the Sri Lankan government’s failure to undertake a credible national process to address serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law “can no longer be explained as a function of time or technical capacity, but that it is fundamentally a question of political will.”

Asia director at Human Rights Watch, Brad Adams said that the Sri Lankan government has refused to address its role in the deaths of tens of thousands at the end of the country’s brutal civil war, adding that Pillay’s report sends a strong message that only an independent international inquiry could bring justice to the victims of Sri Lanka’s wartime abuses.

Pillay also expressed concern that nongovernmental organizations were still required to register and report to the Defense Ministry, and that women remained vulnerable to sexual harassment and violence in areas where there is a heavy military presence.

The report also points out that senior members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have yet to be brought to justice for war crimes.

Adams said that Sri Lanka has repeatedly refused to undertake investigations into crimes committed by its own forces, so it will be up to members of the UN Human Rights Council to take decisive action at the coming March session. (ANI)