UN Official calls for Sri Lanka investigation

Last week, I flagged this video obtained by Channel 4 News in the UK (arguably the single best media outlet on the human rights and humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Sri Lanka. ) The video, which is quite difficult to watch, shows men in Sri Lankan military uniforms summarily executing a group of men lying bound and naked on the ground. 

The Sri Lankan government claims this video is a forgery, though it seems that a UN official is calling their bluff.   Today, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions asked for an investigation into the authenticity of the video. 

“These images are horrendous and, if authentic, would indicate a serious violation of international law”, said Professor Philip Alston. “I am aware that the Sri Lankan Government has categorically denied the veracity of the allegations. This makes it all the more important for an independent investigation to be set up.

For the independent expert, “if the Government’s position is validated as a result of an inquiry, the international community can rest easy and the Government will have been vindicated. There is no justification for not moving ahead with such an investigation in view of the Government’s confidence that such atrocities were never perpetrated by its armed forces”.

Professor Alston stated that no Government today can simply dismiss such allegations without undertaking a thorough investigation that meets international standards. He also recalled that he has, on a number of occasions over recent years, requested to undertake a visit to Sri Lanka in order to review the situation. He regretted that, to date, he has not yet received an invitation to do so from the Government of Sri Lanka, but indicated that he was hopeful that such an invitation might be forthcoming in light of the most recent allegations