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India must take position on Lanka’s war crimes: rights group

[PTI, Thursday, 21 April 2011 08:06 No Comment]

Following allegations of war crimes against the Sri Lankan government, a top human rights expert has said that India needs to make public its position on the issue.

"India will have to take a public position," Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch, told PTI. Ganguly added that if India wanted to emerge as a leader on the global stage then the country’s leadership would have to show its intention of "protecting the rights of people over government."

An independent panel of experts, which submitted its report to the UN, has found "credible allegations" of crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Sri Lankan government and the rebel Tamil Tigers.

The excerpts  leaked to Sri Lanka’s ‘Island’ newspaper, said that "the panel found credible allegations, which if proven, indicate that a wide range of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law were committed both by the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE, some of which would amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity".

The Sri Lankan government has rejected the report as "fundamentally flawed" and "based on patently biased material, which is presented without any verification".

If calls for accountability grow, observers have noted that the Indian government would probably discuss the issue privately with the Sri Lankan government. India’s position on human rights has come under increasing scrutiny as New Delhi hopes to get a permanent seat in the Security Council.

Recently India, which is currently a non-permanent member on the Council, voted for the first round of sanctions against Muammar Gaddafi but it abstained on the resolution authorising use of force.

Ganguly noted that India had played a positive role in dealing with the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East but said it wasn’t enough to address human rights situations in a "middle ground way".

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