Loss of life in Sri Lanka conflict could have been averted: US

Loss of life could have been averted: US
Colombo, Sep 19: The US has said that several lives could have been saved had the global community acted earlier and more appropriately to situations in some troubled nations like Sri Lanka, which is accused of human rights abuses during its military campaign against the LTTE.

In a statement at a UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva yesterday, the US said a delayed response by the international community resulted in decaying human rights situations in those countries.

Issued during a panel discussion on the role of prevention in promotion and protection of human rights, it said the most troubling aspect of recent atrocities is the concern that they could have been prevented.

The US delegation noted the failure of the international community to act in Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur, Sri Lanka and Syria. Sri Lanka has been subject to three UNHRC resolutions in 2012, 2013 and 2014 over alleged rights abuses by government troops during the last phase of the war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The last one prescribed an international probe into the alleged rights violations. According to UN estimates, more than 40,000 civilians were killed in Lanka during the final phase of the conflict in 2009. The Sri Lankan government disputes the UN figure.

During the session, the US commended the Rights Up Front initiative of UN chief Ban Ki-moon, which recognises the crucial need to respond early to developing situations in order to prevent rights violations and potential atrocities.

Noting that the UN system on the ground in Sri Lanka had failed to respond adequately to a worsening human disaster, the UN in 2010 set up its own internal inquiry into the conduct of its operations in the island. Sri Lanka, however, dismissed the findings of the panel headed by Marzuki Darusman of Indonesia.

The Darusman report revealed "a very different version of the final stages of the war than that maintained to this day by the Government of Sri Lanka".

The panel found "credible allegations" which, if proven, indicated that warcrimes and crimes against humanity were committed by the Sri Lankan military and the LTTE.


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