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Crisis Group responds to Sri Lanka

Yesterday, I spoke with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris about the serious allegations of war crimes documented in an International Crisis Group (ICG) report released last week. The foreign minister argued that the report was poorly sourced and politically motivated. But today, ICG president and CEO, Louise Arbour, took on those claims.  Arbour points ...

Yesterday, I spoke with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris about the serious allegations of war crimes documented in an International Crisis Group (ICG) report released last week. The foreign minister argued that the report was poorly sourced and politically motivated. But today, ICG president and CEO, Louise Arbour, took on those claims. 

Arbour points out that the Sri Lankan government has yet to truly respond to the substantive question raised by ICG’s investigation. (Indeed, the foreign minister did not do so during our discussion.) More, Arbour continues, "the government is resisting terribly the idea of an international investigation — purportedly on the basis that this amounts to a form of neocolonialism." (Right again. The foreign minister confirmed that he told U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon not to interfer with Sri Lanka’s government commission investigation of the matter because "there would be public resentment because that attitude would seem patronizing.")

Peiris meets with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday. Here’s hoping that the secretary’s staffers have kept up with the debate and read the report in question. Shelling civilians, hospitals, and humanitarian operations — as well as blocking aid to those who need it — are not exactly allegations that can be overlooked by the world these days. At least, let’s hope not.

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