EU calls for enquiry into Sri Lanka conflict

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The EU is calling for an independent enquiry into alleged human rights violation during the Sri Lanka conflict that has left many innocent civilians dead.

Brussels – The European Union on Monday called for an independent enquiry into alleged human rights violations during the conflict between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels in northern Sri Lanka.

EU foreign ministers, in an agreed statement, said the European Union was "appalled by the loss of innocent civilian lives as a result of the conflict and by the high numbers of casualties, including children."

The 27-nation bloc called on the Sri Lankan government and all other involved parties "to urgently proceed towards a comprehensive political process".

The statement, issued as EU foreign ministers held talks in Brussels, stressed the need for both sides "to fully respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law."

The European Union "calls for the alleged violations of these laws to be investigated through an independent inquiry. Those accountable must be brought to justice," the statement added.

At the same time Sri Lanka's army chief announced all combat operations against the Tamil Tigers had ended with the last rebels defeated and all territory captured. The state television showed what it said was the corpse of rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in response to the Tigers' announcement that the guerrilla leader was still alive and well, and that they would continue fighting for a separate Tamil homeland.

The separatist rebels were once one of the world's most feared guerrilla armies, and ran a de facto mini-state spanning a third of the island before the government began a major offensive two years ago.

The LTTE Tamil Tigers emerged in the 1970s, with all-out war erupting in the early 1980s.

The conflict has left more than 70,000 dead from pitched battles, suicide attacks, bomb strikes and assassinations.

AFP / Expatica

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