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* No progress in human rights issues in Sri Lanka - HRW
Sat, Feb 2, 2013, 12:19 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 01, Colombo: There was no fundamental progress on key human rights issues in Sri Lanka over the past year and the Sri Lankan government continues to assault the civil society, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in its World Report 2013 released Friday.

The 665-page report, which details the progress on human rights during the past year in more than 90 countries, says that the government of Sri Lanka failed to take meaningful steps towards accountability for war crimes during the country's armed conflict that ended in 2009.

"The Sri Lankan government needs to address the many problems that undermine basic rights for people in the war-torn North and East," Asia director at HRW, Brad Adams said.

"Justice and accountability for abuses, an end to torture in detention, and ending constraints on basic liberties continue to prove elusive for the Tamil population," he further noted.

According to the HRW, its research has found that overly broad detention powers remained in place under various laws and regulations, leaving several thousand people detained without charge.

Repatriated Tamils allegedly linked to the defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were at particular risk, Human Rights Watch research has found.

The report has accused state security forces of committing arbitrary arrests and torture, including sexual assault, against ethnic minority Tamils. The HRW for years has been accusing the Sri Lankan government of these charges, which the government totally denies.

"While the Tamil population in the north benefitted from greater access by humanitarian groups, the military presence kept living conditions from being normalized," the HRW report said.

HRW's Adams said when a government fails to protect the rights of its citizens, the need for international action increases and the international community last year focused renewed attention on Sri Lanka.

"The international community in 2012 focused renewed attention on Sri Lanka, and given the lack of progress on accountability and the shrinking political space, should continue to do so," The HRW Director suggested.

Read HRW's World Report 2013 .

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