Senior HRW, ICG staff slam US Senate report

[TamilNet, Friday, 11 December 2009, 03:37 GMT]
The 18-page report released Monday by US Senate Foreign Relations Committee advocating the need to focus on economy and security of Sri Lanka instead of humanitarian considerations to initiate warming of relationship with Sri Lanka was slammed by Rights organizations as "incredibly shoddy" and drew comments that authors of the report appear to be people who "don’t know anything about Sri Lanka." The report comes amid growing concern among many activists that President Obama’s policy of diplomatic engagement with abusive or authoritarian governments, such as China, Burma, Iran, Sudan, and Syria, is being pursued at the expense of human rights, Inter Press Service (IPS) News Agency said.

Robert Templer, ICG
Robert Templer, ICG
Brad Adams, HRW
Brad Adams, HRW
Professor Francis A. Boyle, University of Illinois College of Law
Professor Francis A. Boyle, University of Illinois
"This report is an incredibly shoddy, ill-informed piece of work that grossly overstates the strategic importance of Sri Lanka to the United States and woefully understates the degree of abuses carried out by the government there," said Robert Templer, director of the Asia programme at the Brussels- based International Crisis Group (ICG), according a report on IPS.

"Maybe the people who wrote the report don’t know anything about Sri Lanka or maybe they’re of the school that says that everything on the planet is strategic," said Brad Adams, Asia director for Human Rights Watch. "The huge human-rights and humanitarian problems that continue there are not small; they’re central to any principled diplomatic engagement with Sri Lanka at this point. So [the notion] that we are in a competition with China, which I think is driving this, is misplaced," he told IPS.

Professor Francis Boyle of University of Illinois College of Law, commenting on the statement "[f]or their part, Tamil leaders have not yet made anticipated conciliatory gestures that might ease government concerns and foster a genuine dialogue," appearing in page 1 of the report said, "[t]his is a sick joke and a demented fraud."

Between 7,000 and 20,000 non-combatants were reportedly killed in the fighting between January and May, according to the U.N. and human rights groups, IPS said of the Sri Lanka military offensives during the first five months of this year. "When the government placed some 250,000 IDPs in detention camps after the surrender, U.S. and western criticism - which included an unsuccessful effort to stall a 2.6 billion-dollar IMF loan in July - grew," IPS report added.

Several international human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, and UN's top human rights official and former war crimes judge, Navi Pillay have called for investigations into possible war crimes committed by the Sri Lanka military and the Liberation Tigers.


IPS: US-SRI LANKA: Senate Report Urges Warmer Ties


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