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Britain's Hague on sexual violence by Sri Lanka forces

Speaking in Colombo yesterday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague called for an international investigation into alleged war crimes if the Sri Lankan government fails to undertake an 'independent, thorough and credible' investigation of its own.

Hague said:

"The British government along with other members of the international community has consistently called for an independent, thorough and credible investigation into allegations of violations and abuses of International humanitarian and human rights law by both sides in the military conflict and in the absence of an independent investigation pressure will mount for an international investigation,"

A key focus of his speech was on sexual violence, an issue on which he has been campaigning.

Accountability for sexual violence is critical to reconciliation and stability in Sri Lanka,” he said. (See video by The Telegraph here.)

“[However] To date, too little has been done, to hold people to account for crimes of sexual violence. The allegations include reports from the UN panel of experts that rape was used by government forces during the final stages of the conflict, and before;

“Claims from Human Rights Watch that sexual torture has been used to extract confessions;

“And continued concerns of the vulnerability of the women and girls to sexual harassment and abuse, particularly the ninety thousand war widows living in areas with a large military presence.”

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