UK Prime Minister calls for independent Sri Lanka rights investigation Matthew Pomy at 1:33 PM ET
[JURIST] UK Prime Minister David Cameron [official website] demanded [statement] that the Sri Lankan government conduct its own investigation into allegations of war crimes committed during the 26-year civil war [JURIST news archive] with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [CFR backgrounder]. Cameron emphasized the need for reconciliation and justice. He also reiterated the March 2014 deadline put forward by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website]. Should the government fail to meet this deadline, Cameron vowed to do all in his power to call for an international inquiry. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa [official website] has initially rejected [statement] Cameron's position. Sri Lanka has not investigated allegations that up to 40,000 civilians were killed during the final months of the civil war.
The UN and other international human rights groups have urged Sri Lanka to investigate war crimes committed during its civil war with the LTTE. In September Pillay called on Sri Lanka [JURIST report] to improve their human rights record. In August, at the beginning of her visit, Pillay pledged to raise concerns [JURIST report] with the government's human rights record, particularly with regard to alleged war crimes against ethnic Tamils. In May Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said that there has been no progress [JURIST report] regarding respect for basic rights and liberties in the four years since the end of the country's civil war. In March the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution [JURIST report] to promote reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka.
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