In a letter to the Associated Press (AP) Wigneswaran said he had previously urged the UN rights chief to demand an independent investigation into the incidents.
“Unfortunately, this was overlooked,” he told the AP “… if the international mechanism was in place it would have acted as a deterrent to these military sadists.”
Sri Lanka’s government faced increasing pressure Friday to answer for alleged human rights violations following an Associated Press investigation that found more than 50 men who said they were raped, branded or tortured as recently as this year.
The men’s anguished descriptions of their abuses come nearly a decade after Sri Lanka’s civil war ended and days ahead of a review of the Indian Ocean nation by the U.N.’s top human rights body.
Doctors, psychologists, lawmakers and rights groups have appealed to the United Nations to investigate the new allegations published by The Associated Press on Wednesday. The AP reviewed 32 medical and psychological evaluations and interviewed 20 men who said they were accused of trying to revive a rebel group on the losing side of Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war. All the men are members of the country’s Tamil ethnic minority.
Yasmin Sooka, director of the South Africa-based Foundation for Human Rights, said she hopes the review will spur member states to ask Sri Lanka tough questions. She also urged the U.N. to establish an independent body to investigate the allegations — much like it did in Guatemala.
“There is no real framework for witness security in Sri Lanka,” said Sooka. “As it stands now, the very people who are accused of such violations would essentially be in charge of investigating themselves.”
U.N. human rights office spokesman Rupert Colville said “we are currently looking into these alarming allegations to work out the best way for them to be further investigated.” (Colombo Gazette)