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US voices concern on Sri Lanka war report

[AFP, Tuesday, 20 December 2011 09:25 No Comment]

Sri Lankan former Tamil Tiger rebels wait for their release during an official ceremony in Colombo in October 2011 (AFP File, Ishara S.Kodikara) The United States on Monday voiced concern over a Sri Lankan commission’s report on the end of the island’s civil war and urged the government to address human rights allegations more fully.

In a 400-page report released last week, the government-created commission cleared the military of charges that it deliberately targeted civilians as it wiped out the Tamil Tiger leadership in 2009, ending decades of war.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission made some "substantive recommendations" in areas such as media freedom and human rights violations.

"While we’re still studying the full report, I do have to say that we have concerns that the report nonetheless does not fully address all the allegations of serious human rights violations that occurred in the final phase of the conflict," Nuland told reporters.

"We urge the Sri Lankan government not only to fulfill all of the recommendations of the report as it stands, but also to address those issues that the report did not cover," she said.

However, Nuland stopped short of endorsing calls by major human rights groups for the establishment of an international investigation into alleged abuses.

"We’ve long said that it is better for Sri Lankans to take these issues themselves and address them fully. That remains our position," she said.

The United Nations estimates some 100,000 people perished during the 37-year ethnic conflict. Rights groups charge that thousands of civilians died in the final offensive against the Tamil Tiger rebels.

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