Sri Lanka's Tamil leaders call for UN help

2016-02-08 05:35
Supporters of Sri Lankan opposition political parties backing former president Mahinda Rajapaksa protest outside the UN office in Colombo over alleged atrocities committed during the civil war. (Eranga Jayawardena, AP)

Supporters of Sri Lankan opposition political parties backing former president Mahinda Rajapaksa protest outside the UN office in Colombo over alleged atrocities committed during the civil war. (Eranga Jayawardena, AP)

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Jaffna - Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil leaders on Sunday asked the top UN human rights official to help determine the fate of more than 4 000 civilians reported missing in the country's long civil war amid the government's assertion that most of them are probably dead.

The UN official, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, met the chief minister of Sri Lanka's Northern Province, the centre of the civil war, which ended in 2009. Zeid is on a four-day visit to Sri Lanka to review measures taken by the government to investigate alleged war abuses during the war.

Both the Sri Lankan government and the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels are accused of serious human rights violations. According to UN estimates, up to 100 000 people were killed in the 26-year war, but many more are feared to have died, including up to 40 000 civilians in the final months of the fighting.

The UN Human Rights Council last year adopted a consensus resolution in which Sri Lanka agreed to an investigation with foreign participation.

Zeid said he discussed several issues with Northern Province chief minister C.V. Wigneswaran and other provincial officials, including the missing people, detentions without trial and military-occupied private land. He said he would take the issues up with the central government.

"The discussions very much focused on the challenges faced by the province, but also the plans and achievements in that regard and the people who aspire to see more information in terms of those detained and those missing and the issue of release of lands," Zeid said.

He said the discussions would continue during his visit.

Wigneswaran said he gave Zeid a list of the more than 4 000 people reported missing, with dates and places where they were seen last.


Read more on:    sri lanka

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