ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 20

Britain chides Govt, LTTE in rights report

Britain in its annual human rights report has urged the Sri Lankan government to ensure the safety and well-being of the population and investigate allegations of human rights abuses in an open and transparent way.

The report was also critical of the LTTE and called on the rebels to renounce violence.

Following are extracts from the report:

Violence against civilians and terrorist attacks on the security forces increased dramatically during the period covered by this report, as increased tension between the two sides put significant strain on the ceasefire agreement. Nearly 900 people were killed between December 2005 and June 2006, over half of them civilians. The LTTE has launched attacks against civilians, as well as military targets, and stands accused of involvement in the execution-style murder of 12 people in eastern Sri Lanka in May 2006 and the murder of a further 64 in an attack on a bus in June 2006. The LTTE continued to recruit children, extort “taxes” and harass civilians in the north and east. In November, 2005, the LTTE used violence and threats to prevent much of the Tamil population participating in the Sri Lankan presidential election. The LTTE exercise complete control in parts of Sri Lanka, preventing any form of rival political activity or freedom of expression.

There have been credible reports that members of the government security forces were involved in extra-judicial killings and repeated allegations that some civilians detained during large anti-terrorist operations have disappeared. Anti-LTTE paramilitary groups have also engaged in violence and intimidation. Despite promising to do so, the government has not succeeded in preventing these armed groups operating in government-controlled areas, and there are allegations of collusion by the security forces.

Our firm view is that dialogue, not violence, is the only viable route to resolving the conflict. Dialogue needs to take full account of the legitimate demands of all parties and promote a democratic and stable Sri Lanka. We have repeatedly called on the LTTE to renounce violence. We have made clear that the Sri Lankan government must do everything in its power to ensure the safety and well-being of its population, to ensure that allegations of human rights abuse are credibly investigated in an open and transparent way and that, where there is sufficient evidence, prosecutions follow.

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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.