The US has blamed the government for being involved in human rights violations last year and has stated that Sri Lanka is yet to make progress into the killings of several high profile people who were murdered as the war came to its bloody end.
However the report also stated that the country did make some progress after the war between the military and the LTTE came to an end after 35 years.
“The government's respect for human rights declined as armed conflict reached its conclusion,” the US said in its annual Human Rights report released by the State Department.
The report added that throughout last year, human rights observers alleged that progovernment paramilitary groups and security forces participated in armed attacks against civilians and practiced torture, kidnapping, hostage-taking, and extortion with impunity.
“During the year there were no indications or public reports that civilian or military courts convicted any military, police, or paramilitary members for human rights abuses. The executive failed to appoint the Constitutional Council, which is required under the constitution, thus obstructing the appointment of independent representatives to important institutions such as the Human Rights Commission, Bribery Commission, Police Commission, and Judicial Service Commission,” the report said.
It further said that there were numerous reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings and the police or other security forces killed several detained suspects.
It added that unknown actors suspected of association with paramilitary group’s reportedly assisting government military forces committed numerous killings and assaults of civilians.
The State Department further said that media freedom deteriorated in much of Sri Lanka last year, with most journalists practicing self-censorship after threats and violence against them.
“Statements by government and military officials contributed to an environment in which journalists who published articles critical of the government felt under threat,” it said.
However the State Department also reported some improvements.
Meanwhile, the report also blamed the LTTE for engaging in torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, denied fair public trials; arbitrarily interfered with privacy; and denied freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association.
It further said that the LTTE prevented civilians under its control from crossing over to government-held territory by shooting and killing those attempting to escape and as the conflict intensified, the LTTE forcibly recruited both adults and children for combat and reportedly located mortars and other heavy weapons near or in civilian encampments, drawing government military fire in the process. (Daily Mirror online)