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Rajapaksa's high office return without justice for past crimes is chilling - HRW

Human Rights Watch condemned the appointment of Mahinda Rajapksa as “chilling” expressing serious concern about the former president’s return to high office without justice for past crimes.

In a statement released Saturday, HRW director Brad Adams said, “Rajapaksa’s return to high office without any justice for past crimes raises chilling concerns for human rights in Sri Lanka. The current government's failure to bring justice for victims of war crimes under Rajapaksa government reopens the door for past abusers to return to their terrible practices.”

Mr Adams added,

“The media outlets, rights organisations and victims groups who had been vocal and free from government threats now fear return to anxiety and gear. It is critical that governments that helped Sri Lanka’s return to a much more rights respecting government act to ensure those gains are not lost.”

Commenting on Mahinda Rajapaksa’s previous tenure at high levels of office, the press statement added,

 “Rajapaksa’s administration was implicated in egregious violations during the final stages of Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war and in suppression of freedoms of the media, expression, and association. Military forces under Rajapaksa’s authority indiscriminately attacked civilians and summarily executed prisoners during the final months of fighting against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). People with suspected links to the LTTE were subject to arbitrary arrest, torture and sexual violence, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearances. Journalists and activists critical of the Rajapaksa government faced harassment, arrest, and even physical attack.”

See full statement here.