Sri Lanka: Make human rights the priority

Amnesty International today called on the Sri Lanka government to make human rights the priority by allowing the organisation into the country to make an impartial assessment of its and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) human rights record, following accusations from Defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella that the organisation was biased against the government.

“Amnesty International’s role is to monitor and report on human rights abuses by all parties to the conflict. The organisation has repeatedly requested that the government should facilitate this role by allowing us access to the country,” said Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

Amnesty International also rejected claims by the Defence spokesman that it had failed “to utter a single word’ against recent bomb attacks. In the last month alone the organisation made several statements condemning the targeting of civilians  including one on 4th February 2008 entitled: Sri Lanka: Right to life of civilians disregarded as conflict intensifies.

“The situation in Sri Lanka has deteriorated and both the government and the LTTE stand accused of serious human rights abuses. All parties should immediately stop targeting civilians and uphold their commitments to international human rights law,” she said.

The rule of law continues to be undermined and the culture of impunity persists. The government must make protection of human rights the top priority. Instead, human rights defenders have also been increasingly attacked or threatened. At such a time attacking the messenger distracts from the overriding responsibility for serious action to address the problem.

More details:

Amnesty International’s statement of 4th February. Public Document **************************************** For more information please call Amnesty International’s press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 or email: [email protected] International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW, UK