Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Sri Lanka: No Justice in Massacre of Aid Workers

Five Years On, Government Unwilling to Prosecute Soldiers, Police

Human Rights Watch, August 3, 2011
  • A member of the French aid group Action Contre La Faim places a wreath in front of the photographs of his 17 slain colleagues at their memorial in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka on August 11, 2006
    © 2006 Reuters
On the fifth anniversary of the murder of 17 aid workers, the Sri Lankan government is no closer to prosecuting those responsible. The Rajapaksa government is not just unwilling to uncover the truth, it appears afraid of the truth.
James Ross, legal and policy director at Human Rights Watch
(New York) – The Sri Lankan government’s failure to bring to justice those responsible for the execution-style slaying of 17 aid workers five years ago highlights a broader lack of will to prosecute soldiers and police for rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. Despite strong evidence of involvement by the security forces in the killings, government inquiries have languished and no one has been arrested for the crime.

On August 4, 2006, gunmen murdered the 17 Sri Lankan aid workers – 16 ethnic Tamils and one Muslim – with the Paris-based international humanitarian agency Action Contre La Faim (Action Against Hunger, ACF) in their office compound in the town of Mutur, Trincomalee district. The killings followed a battle between Sri Lankan government forces and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for control of the town.

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