The appointment of accused war criminal Shavendra Silva to the top of Sri Lanka’s military has “exposed the Sri Lankan army as one institutionally committed to impunity for grave abuses” said Human Rights Watch’s United Nations Director Louis Charbonneau this week.
“Despite commitments to investigate and prosecute alleged war crimes, the government has failed to do so,” said Charbonneau.
He went on to call the United Nations’ move to suspend any new intakes of Sri Lankan peacekeepers in response to the Silva appointment, a “stand against impunity for war crimes”.
“Hopefully the UN’s principled position on Sri Lanka signals its renewed commitment” to the Human Rights Up Front program, added Charbonneau. The initiative was started after the UN admitted its failures in the aftermath of a massive Sri Lankan military offensive in 2009 that killed tens of thousands of Tamil civilians.
“Silva’s appointment has exposed the Sri Lankan army as one institutionally committed to impunity for grave abuses,” concluded Charbonneau. “The decision by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Department of Peace Operations sends a strong signal to governments that sweeping suspected war crimes under the carpet will not go unnoticed by the world body.”
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