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Commonwealth calls for investigation of Sri Lanka war crimes

Commonwealth calls for investigation of Sri Lanka war crimes

June 26, 2011 - The Commonwealth has called on Sri Lanka to conduct “a full, credible, and thorough investigation" of the atrocities detailed in Channel 4s documentary, Sri Lanka's Killing Fields. A statement by Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma's spokesperson said: “The Commonwealth has long supported the peaceful resolution of the civil war in Sri Lanka, and recognises that genuine and sustainable reconciliation must include investigation of alleged war crimes and accountability of those responsible, and the promotion of justice.”

The full text of the statement by the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Spokesperson:

The Commonwealth membership is united in its long standing commitment to human dignity, equality, human rights, and the rule of law – to which access to justice and an independent judiciary are fundamental. Commonwealth Heads of Government have as recently as November 2009 solemnly reiterated their commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and also to the values of tolerance, respect and understanding.

The Commonwealth recognises that respect for the dignity of all human beings is critical to promoting peace and prosperity.

The Commonwealth has long supported the peaceful resolution of the civil war in Sri Lanka, and recognises that genuine and sustainable reconciliation must include investigation of alleged war crimes and accountability of those responsible, and the promotion of justice.

The Commonwealth Secretariat has received expressions of concern about the contents of a recent television programme concerning the civil war in Sri Lanka.

There is understandable widespread abhorrence at what the programme purports to show. These concerns have been conveyed to the Sri Lankan government, and the Secretariat has been informed that the video footage will be given the attention that it obviously merits by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.

The Commonwealth Secretariat recalls that the Government of Sri Lanka has conveyed in a statement of the Ministry of External Affairs that if the allegations levelled in the television programme are found to be genuine, the LLRC will take due note and remedial measures will be taken by way of legal sanctions.

The Secretariat welcomes this undertaking to establish the facts of the situation, and to complete a full, credible, and thorough investigation that reflects Commonwealth values and principles to which all members subscribe.

ENDS

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