Amnesty International (AI) has urged the United Nations to play a lead role in ending the culture of impunity in Sri Lanka over allegations of serious human rights abuses.

The Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in particular should call on Sri Lanka to implement measures aimed at ending the prevailing culture of impunity, AI said.

“The prolonged failure of the international community to demand accountability for alleged crimes under international law in Sri Lanka has only encouraged official disregard for international law and UN mechanisms aimed at protecting individuals from harm and providing accountability,” it said in a statement.“The longer we wait, the more damage is done to the fabric of Sri Lankan society.”

In a written statement to the UNHRC, the AI says apart from the human rights violations prior to the Council’s previous session in 2010, new and serious violations of human rights continue to be reported.

The 16 session of the UNHRC began yesterday. The session begins at a time international community is once again focusing on Sri Lanka’s human rights record.

Sri Lanka refuses to allow advisory panel appointed by the UN Secretary General’s on accountability issues to visit Sri Lanka.

However, Sri Lanka’s Attorney General and the Foreign Secretary travelled to New York to meet Ban ki-Moon, last week.

“New reports of abductions, enforced disappearances and killings in northern Sri Lanka have had a profound effect on public security in that region and people’s ability to heal and rebuild,” AI said in the statement.

It urges the Council to call on Sri Lanka to investigate new reports of enforced disappearances and killings in northern Sri Lanka and ensure perpetrators who are identified are brought to justice.

The rights watchdog accuses the Sri Lankan government of continually refusing to acknowledge credible allegations of war crimes, despite evidence of such crimes by both the parties “continuing to mount.”

Source: The Daily Mirror – 01.03.2011