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EU steps up pressure on Sri Lanka over human rights

October 27, 2009 23:39 IST

The European Union on Tuesday stepped up pressure on Sri Lanka to probe alleged human rights abuses during the 25-year ethnic war that came to an end after the defeat of the Tamil Tigers.

Sri Lanka, which crushed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels in May, has been under intense global pressure to probe allegations of human rights abuses and war crimes during the final stages of its battle against the Tamil Tigers.

"It is essential to put an end to impunity and to all human rights violations," foreign ministers of the 27-country bloc said in a statement after talks in Luxembourg.

The ministers said they were "seriously concerned" about reports of abductions, disappearances and extra-judicial killings, as well as restrictions on the media, in relation to the long-running conflict there.

"The EU repeats its call for possible violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law by all actors to be subject to independent and credible inquiry," their statement said.

They also expressed concern over the people displaced during the civil war and asked Colombo "to ensure that conditions in the camps in all respects are in accordance with internationally accepted standards".

"There is an urgent need for all IDPs remaining in the camps to be granted freedom of movement as well as full and unimpeded access to them by humanitarian actors," the statement said.

The EU statement comes a week after it threatened to strip Sri Lanka of preferential trading status due to the rights abuses.
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