EU calls for inquiry into Sri Lankan abuse allegations

May 18th, 2009 - 6:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Brussels, May 18 (DPA) European Union (EU) foreign ministers Monday called for an independent inquiry into alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka, amid deep concern about the plight of civilians.
“The EU calls for the alleged violations (of international humanitarian and human rights law) to be investigated through an independent inquiry. Those accountable must be brought to justice,” ministers said in a joint statement.

The statement was prepared well before reports reached Brussels that the leader of the Tamil rebels, Velupillai Prabhakaran, had been killed by the army in a likely conclusive blow to the separatists.

Prabhakaran’s deputy, Pottu Amman, the separatist rebels’ intelligence chief, as well as Soosai, leader of their naval unit, were killed, state-run television reported.

Ahead of their talks in the Belgian capital, EU ministers expressed their concern at the plight of scores of civilians who have been forced to flee rebel-held areas.

“Right now, what we need to do is make sure that all the humanitarian aid gets through to the area,” said Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb.

The EU’s external affairs commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, expressed relief that “the heaviest fighting appears to be over”, but urged the sides to ensure that the UN “can have full access” to Sri Lanka.

There is a “crying need for an inclusive political settlement. The tens of thousands of innocent Tamil citizens want to be Sri Lankan citizens of equal rights and equal value”, said British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

Miliband also described the alleged human rights abuses committed by both sides in the fighting as “serious and credible”.

According to reports, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was due to make a formal announcement Tuesday morning that decades of fighting against the rebels had finally been brought to an end.

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