Four and a half years after the end of the war, there is widespread impunity for a broad range of human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, notes a report by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour released a short while ago.
“In Sri Lanka, over four and a half years after the end of the conflict, the government has not made sufficient progress on reconciliation and ensuring justice and accountability for alleged war crimes,” the US State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013 said in its introduction.
It said ongoing serious human rights problems include disappearances and a lack of accountability for thousands who disappeared in previous years, as well as widespread impunity for a broad range of human rights abuses, such as torture by police and attacks on media institutions and the judiciary.
“Continuing attacks and harassment against civil society activists, and religious minorities contributed to an environment of fear and self-censorship,” the introduction said.
The Sri Lanka report, an extensive brief covering a range of areas related to human rights and democracy, said that Government surveillance, especially in the north, led to frequent disruptions of local cultural events. “Since the military required that all public gatherings, including weddings and coming-of-age parties for young girls, be reported to local military officials, many families feared holding or participating in these basic cultural and social rites,” it noted.
“Evidence of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the final stages of the war continued to mount, but the government refused to acknowledge credible allegations that members of the armed forces were involved in such incidents. The army COI, appointed in 2012 by the army commander to look into such allegations, reportedly absolved the armed forces of any wrongdoing, but human rights organizations questioned the COI’s independence and the extent to which military investigative mechanisms could credibly investigate allegations against the military,” the latest report observed.
See full report on Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Situation in 2013 here