By Kshanika Argent
The government shrugged off allegations by the US that it committed human rights violations during and after the war, stating that the US should focus its attention on progress made in the north and east rather than criticizing Sri Lanka all the time.
Speaking to Daily Mirror online in response to the annual Human Rights report released by the US State Department, Defence Spokesperson Minister Keheliya Rambukwella stated, “They (the US) have been making comments like this for the past four years, not just the US Government but other Human Rights groups too. They keep repeating these comments and I believe it’s just an exercise that keeps their organizations alive.”
The human rights report, which is critical of both the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE, declared that the government’s respect for human rights declined during the last stages of the war. The report goes on to cite that over the past year, human rights observers alleged that pro government paramilitary groups and security forces participated in armed attacks against civilians and practiced torture, kidnapping, hostage-taking, and extortion with impunity.
The report further claims the failure of appointing a Constitutional Council, ‘obstructed’ the appointment of independent representatives to important institutions such as the Human Rights Commission, Bribery Commission, Police Commission and Judicial Service Commission.
When questioned about these allegations, Minister Rambukwella concluded, “All we can say is that they should stop and take notice of the developments in the north and east. We are doing our part and will continue to do so.” (Daily Mirror online)