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The National Action Plan for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights 2011 – 2016 as well as the full series of  Sri Lanka Rights Watch are available at the Peace & Reconciliation Website.

The first part of the LLRC Action Plan deals with what are termed International Humanitarian Law Issues, which may create the wrong impression given the excessive attention focused on what are termed war crimes by some national and international critics of the government. This is a pity because what I would term general Human Rights issues figure here, and these should be dealt with swiftly and constructively.

The need to stop abductions and enforced disappearances is widely recognized, and steps must be taken to prevent such happenings, and to both investigate and prosecute when wrongdoing is apparent. If such wrongdoing is on the part of the state, or forces associated with the state, it is even more important to act decisively, and restore confidence in law enforcement agencies.

To confuse this with dealing with war crimes is a mistake, and might prevent swift action. The LLRC made clear that it did not think there was good reason to assume war crimes had been committed, though it does note that there should be further investigation of complaints based on specific incidents. The specific incidents it does describe are those connected with disappearances after surrender or arrest. These should not be confused with the conduct of the war, but relate to the wider phenomenon as to which we still hear allegations, though few of these now, it seems relate to Tamils.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

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