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Donors condemn govt, rebels on human rights abuses, violence

Written by: Staff
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Washington, Nov 22 (UNI) The United States and the fellow Co-Chairs-comprising Norway, the European Union and Japan-to the war ravaged Sri Lanka have condemned both the government and Tamil rebels alike for human rights abuses and systematic violations of the four-year-old ceasefire agreement.

The remarks were made in a joint statement issued at the end of the meeting of the Co-Chairs of the Tokyo Donors Conference hosted by the US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns.

The Co-Chairs called on both sides to seize the historic opportunity created by the ceasefire agreement to resolve their country's conflict peacefully.

"Only by commiting to sustained and substantive negotiations can the downward spiral of hostilities and human rights violations be reversed," they said.

They also called on them to respect international humanitarian law and set aside demilitarized zones to protect internally displaced persons and reopen the A-9 highway, which is creating hurdles in the way of resuming peace talks.

Welcoming the Sri Lankan Government's progress in establishing a Commission of Inquiry for Human Rights with international observers and the co-Chair asked the government to work promptly to bring the perpetrators to justice and address the climate of impunity.

They also recognized the efforts being made by the government to provide essential supplies and welcome the establishment of the consultative committee on humanitarian assistance that is addressing several humanitarian access issues for international agencies.

The Co-Chairs urged both the parties to depoliticize the issue of humanitarian access and for the immediate, permanent and unconditional opening of the sea and road routes for humanitarian convoys of essential supplies.

As a first step towards this, the Co-Chairs welcomesd the readiness of the government to send one convoy via the A-9 highway to Jaffna and to allow International Non-Governmental Organizations with a proven track record an immediate access to uncleared areas to restart their relief work.

The Co-Chairs called on the LTTE to cooperate with such initiatives.

UNI XC AKJ VA RAI1037

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