News24

S Lanka violating human rights

2010-02-02 14:22

Colombo - Sri Lanka's government is violating the rights of some of the 11 000 Tamil Tiger suspects currently in its custody, a leading rights group said on Tuesday.

New-York based Human Rights Watch said that the government must identify which detainees with suspected rebel links present a genuine threat and release the rest.

The suspects were detained during and after the Sri Lankan military's final offensive against the Tamil rebels, which ended with the rebel group's defeat in May and brought to a close decades of civil war.

At the end of the war more than a quarter million Tamils were placed into government-run camps to be screened for rebel ties as their home villages were cleared of mines.

Some 100 000 civilians still live in those camps. Those with suspected Tiger ties are held in facilities the government calls "rehabilitation centres".

"The government has denied detainees the right to be informed of specific reasons for their arrest, to challenge the lawfulness of the detention before an independent judicial authority, and to have access to legal counsel and family members," Human Rights Watch said in a summary of its report.

Sri Lanka's human rights minister said he had not seen the report, and would respond later.