04/08/2011, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Colombo rejects accusations of human rights violations

by Melani Manel Perera
Attacks "unfounded" for the Sri Lankan government, which criticizes the international groups for their silence during the ethnic conflict. The attack was launched by Robert Blake, U.S. Secretary of State for South Asia.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - The government of Sri Lanka rejects any allegations of breaches of human rights advanced by the United States in the past days. This was strongly affirmed by the Environment Minister Anura Priyadharsana Yapa yesterday in a press conference held at the Department for government information. The attack, delivered by U.S. Secretary of State for South Asia, Robert Blake, referred in particular to the ethnic conflict between Tamils and Sinhalese and difficult relations with India, an imposing neighbour.

Blake has highlighted the need for an international inquiry into war crimes in Sri Lanka. "Unless there is real progress on human rights and reconciliation, there should be limits to cooperation on the security of both countries," said the Secretary of the Committee on Foreign Affairs to the House of Representatives on April 5 .

Responding to the allegations, Minister Yapa pointed out the same international groups and local politicians who are now calling for a relaxation of emergency measures, remained silent on human rights violations perpetrated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during the war, when "they massacred their own people."

For the minister the "unsubstantiated" statements are not acceptable and people now live their lives freely in all parts of the country. Even in the north, the area hardest hit during the thirty-year conflict. In addition, Yapa said that Sri Lanka has its own rules and laws, and neither these nor the international laws have ever been breached.

During a campaign rally on 5 April, the Indian Congress President Sonia Gandhi said that India will try to persuade Sri Lanka to change its constitution to provide for a political solution to the Tamil question. In response, Yapa said the Minister of Foreign Affairs will take appropriate measures in this regard.

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