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Amnesty urges NAM countries to act on Sri Lanka war crimes

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 25 May 2011 08:14 No Comment]

As the foreign ministers of the 118 member countries of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meet Wednesday in Jakarta, Amnesty International urged them to support an international investigation into the killings of 40,000 civilians in the final months of Sri Lanka’s war. In an op-ed published in the Jakarta Post, Amnesty’s international advocacy director, Steve Crawshaw, said NAM countries “have a critical part to play in ensuring these terrible abuses never happen again and that survivors of the conflict can seek justice, thus laying the groundwork for reconciliation” and urged them to act on the report on the mass killings by the UN expert panel – led by former Indonesian attorney-general Marzuki Darusman.

NAM members “should encourage the UN and the government of Sri Lanka to implement the panel’s recommendations on accountability, including the panel’s call for the Secretary General to establish an independent mechanism to investigate these allegations,” the senior Amnesty official said.

“The UN report gives governments — at the Security Council in New York, at the Human Rights Council in Geneva and at the gathering of the NAM in Indonesia on May 23-27 — a wake-up call to ensure a measure of accountability. That historic opportunity must be seized.”

“An international inquiry … would help Tamils and Sinhalese alike accept the reality of the charges leveled against the Tamil Tigers and Sri Lankan government forces, where there is currently too much denial.”

“The world’s generals and politicians alike must understand, however, that there can be no justification for war crimes and crimes against humanity. What the UN report describes as the “discourse of triumphalism” finally needs to be confronted.”

Pointing out that a credible domestic investigation into the deaths of 40,000 civilians is impossible, especially with Sri Lanka insisting its forces operated a “zero-civilian casualty policy”, Crawshaw also criticised US assistant secretary of state Robert Blake for continuing to argue for an internal Sri Lankan inquiry instead of the international investigation that the UN report calls for.

[Full Coverage]

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