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Pressure mounts on Sri Lanka accountability

[BBC, Sunday, 12 February 2012 16:08 No Comment]

The EU motion comes as the US Assistant Secretary of State, Robert Blake, visits Colombo While a senior US diplomat is in Sri Lanka to discuss accountability issues, the European Parliament has called on the United Nations to establish an inquiry into the alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka.

In a motion for a resolution, the European Parliament has called on the EU presidency, among many other issues, to urge the UN to implement the recommendations of the expert panel appointed by the UN secretary general on Sri Lanka.

It comes as US Assistant Secretary of State, Robert Blake, visits Colombo to discuss the upcoming session of the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) in Geneva, with Sri Lanka authorities.

A UN panel which gathered evidence into the war accused both sides of war crimes in the final stages of the conflict in 2009.

After a 10-month investigation, it concluded last April that "most civilian casualties in the final phases of the war were caused by government shelling".

Human smuggling

Activists from campaing group ‘Walk for Justice’ have met MEPs in Brussels The motion submitted on 09 February on the UNHRC session, welcomes the EU initiatives to discuss the situation in Myanmar, Iran, Syria and Libya.

The joint motion by representatives of five groups across the political divide in the EU parliament calls on EU president to forward the resolution to the EU executive, the member states, UN Security Council and UNHRC, among others.

Addressing Independence Day celebrations in Brussels on 05 February, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the EU, Ravinatha Aryasinghe, has called on Sri Lankan expatriates to visit Sri Lanka and explain about the developments in Sri Lanka to their host countries, instead of criticising.

Meanwhile, the European police Europol say it has busted an organised human smuggling group facilitating illegal immigrants from Sri Lanka into the EU.

"The operation is the result of more than a year of joint international efforts at police and judicial level, supported by Eurojust and Europol," the statement issued by the Europol.

Sri Lankans are among the highest groups of migrants who claim asylum fearing prosecution.

A commission set up by Sri Lanka’s president to investigate the conduct of the civil war has said the government did its best to protect civilians.

The Lessons Learnt and Reconcilliation Commission (LLRC) report released last December recounted numerous testimonies of those who said their family members, often former fighters with the rebels, had disappeared after surrender or arrest.

However, Tamil political parties as well as human rights organisations have expressed scepticism of the government implementing the LLRC recommendations.

[Full Coverage]

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