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HRW urges UNHRC to act on Sri Lanka during March session

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the UN Human Rights Council to act against the continued lack of accountability for abuses committed in Sri Lanka.

In a letter, addressed to council members, HRW called on the council to undertake credible measures towards accountability, as the Sri Lankan Government is still continuing to ignore calls for an independent accountability mechanism, nearly 3 years after the end of the armed conflict.

"The Human Rights Council is uniquely positioned to ensure that the deaths and injuries of tens of thousands of civilians in the last months of Sri Lanka's conflict are properly investigated," said Philippe Dam, acting Geneva advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

"The failure of the council to respond to one of the worst episodes of human rights abuse since its creation would only undermine its relevance."

The letter highlights the support for an independent, international investigation by several high ranking UN officials, including High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, and former Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston.

HRW urged council members to pass a resolution expressing concern at the continued failure by Sri Lanka to investigate crimes and provide accountability, and to implement the recommendations made by the Panel of Experts to the Secretary General Ban-ki Moon, which includes establishing an independent investigation commission to examine alleged human rights violations by all sides.

HRW further accuses Sri Lanka’s own report on the war, the LLRC, as ‘[disregarding] the worst government abuses and [failing] to recommend measures to hold accountable government and military officials responsible for abuses.’

"It has long been clear that justice and accountability will not come from the Sri Lankan government," said Dam.

"Only international action will address the suffering of victims."

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