Sri Lanka’s top rights panel said Thursday it has concluded investigations into the murder of 17 local employees of a French charity and six other high profile cases from the island’s civil war.
The head of the probe, however, refused to say who had been found responsible for the 2006 massacre of the aid workers, which international monitors and rights groups have blamed on Sri Lankan government forces.
“We have completed seven cases, including the ACF (French charity Action Against Hunger) case, and we have asked for a date to hand over the report to the president,” Nissanka Udalagama said.
“I can’t discuss our findings because it is up to the president to decide,” he added, saying his panel would ask the president to establish a more permanent body to keep up investigations.
Reports AFP, via Google News.
Despite the Government’s designation of safe — or “no-fire” — zones for civilians, repeated shelling has continued inside those zones, according to information made available to OHCHR. Other areas holding civilians have also been shelled. OHCHR said a range of credible sources have indicated that more than 2,800 civilians may have been killed and more than 7,000 injured since 20 January, many of them inside the no-fire zones. The casualties are believed to include hundreds of children killed and more than a thousand injured.
Even after the Government’s announcement on 24 February that heavy weapons would no longer be fired into the no-fire zones, close to 500 people were reportedly killed and more than a thousand injured in these zones. Of these deaths, the great majority have been attributed to the use of heavy weapons. Overall, since 20 January, more than two thirds of the reported deaths and injuries have occurred in the no-fire zones.
– Statement by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Navi Pillai. Read the entire statement here, and the rebuttal by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights here.