Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sri Lanka

Photos Allege Sri Lanka Massacre, November 10, 2010
[Includes accompanying video]
"Al Jazeera has obtained photographs that appear to show Sri Lankan army soldiers abusing Tamil civilians in the final days of the Sri Lankan civil war. The pictures show various graphic scenes, with dead bodies blindfolded and hands bound, shot through the head and mounds of bodies on the back of a farmer's trailer. It is claimed that the photos were taken in the closing months of the country’s long-running conflict that ended 18 months ago. One of the photos shows a line of bodies, including what is believed to be the body of the son of Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the rebel group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or Tamil Tigers, that was defeated in the civil war. Another photo shows the naked body of a young woman and the body of a boy, perhaps in his early teens. It is not possible to verify the authenticity of the images that were obtained by Al Jazeera from Tamil contacts who said the photos were handed over by someone from the Sri Lankan military. It is unclear why it has taken so long from them to surface.
The photos come to light as Gamini Lakshman Peiris, the Sri Lankan minister of external affairs, is in London to deliver as speech at the International Institute of Strategic Studies. Ethnic Tamil groups have vowed to protest outside the venue. The Sri Lankan government has always denied allegations of war crimes and promised to take action if it finds evidence of atrocities. Rajiva Wijesinha, a Sri Lankan MP who is also a former secretary of the country's human rights ministry, told Al Jazeera that the country has launched an 'independent' inquiry into the photos of the alleged massacre. 'We have always said that any allegation will be investigated. We believe that our inquiry going on is perfectly independent.' But Dr. Sam Pari, a spokeswoman for the Australian Tamil Congress, says there has to foreign pressure on the Sri Lankan government to allow an international independent investigation into the atrocity. 'The responsibility of pressuring Sri Lanka to allow an international independent investigation falls upon the international governments that currently deal with Sri Lanka in the form of trade, tourism etc.,' she told Al Jazeera in an interview. 'So if these governments start placing trade sanctions and travel bans on Sri Lanka, then Sri Lanka will be forced to allow an international investigation into war crimes.' [...]"

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