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* Sri Lanka made little progress on rights in 2013, Human Rights Watch says
Wed, Jan 22, 2014, 10:49 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 22, New York: Sri Lanka made little progress in 2013 in accountability for serious human rights abuses committed during the country's three-decade long war against Tamil Tiger terrorists that ended in 2009, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday in its World Report 2014.

"The Sri Lankan government makes a lot of claims about pursuing accountability for wartime abuses, but the world is still waiting to see some results," Asia director at Human Rights Watch Brad Adams said.

He said it is clearer than ever that an independent international investigation is needed to make genuine progress in providing justice for victims.

Following the resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2013, the Sri Lankan government announced various actions to provide accountability in accordance with its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, the report said.

Although some of these actions are positive - such as arresting some of the suspects in the 2006 "Trinco Five" killings and beginning a six-month nationwide population survey to determine the civil war’s toll - both their outcome and broader impact on accountability is uncertain, the HRW has said.

According to HRW, the UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay, following her week-long visit in August, has said that she found no credible evidence of any progress.

The HRW noted that several governments - Canada, India and the UK- used the November Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo to spotlight the lack of accountability.

The HRW report says the Sri Lankans who criticized the government remained subject to harassment or threats and the state media continued to name and attack rights activists, particularly those working on accountability issues.

The report claimed that the ethnic minority Tamil community deemed to have ties to the defeated terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) faced serious abuse.

"As 2014 begins, increased international pressure in support of basic rights is desperately needed to reverse a course that is threatening democratic rule in Sri Lanka," the HRW said.

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