12/12/2007, 00.00
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Violence as a “way of life” in Sri Lanka

by Melani Manel Perera
Asian Human Rights Commission makes the allegation in a report released on International Human Rights Day. The year 2007 saw continued human rights violations by both Tamil rebels and the government. Corruption is up and freedom of expression is more restricted.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – In its last report released yesterday, International Human Rights Day, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) found that 2007 was a year of continuous human rights violations in Sri Lanka. The study looked at human rights in 11 Asian countries including Myanmar and Pakistan where mass protests took place against their ruling military regimes as well as Bangladesh and Thailand. Also included are the Philippines and Sri Lanka where violence has become a way of life.  

In Sri Lanka, the last months saw a return to the situation that prevailed before the 2002 ceasefire agreement. This means renewed civil war with thousands of people arrested purely on an ethnic (Tamil) basis and clashes between the two warring sides with heavy costs for the civilian population.

Furthermore, the AHRC noted that many abuses against civilians in both rebel- and government held territory have never been investigated. The Presidential commission created to investigate gross violations including kidnappings and disappearances has proven to be a farce

According to the United Nations, Sri Lanka has the highest frequency of disappearances in the world whilst the Sri Lankan government continues to reject any international human rights monitoring on its territory.

Hence the AHRC is appealing to the international community to intervene rather stand idle and this despite Colombo’s obstructionism.

The picture that the human rights group paints in Sri Lanka is bad across the board and includes greater corruption and more restrictions on freedom of expression.

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