India urges Sri Lanka to investigate human rights violations

India urges Sri Lanka to investigate human rights violations

India Tuesday asked its Indian Ocean neighbour Sri Lanka to “expeditiously” act for “genuine reconciliation” by taking number of measures, which include probe into allegations of human rights violations during in the fight with the Tamil Tigers.

This was stated in the joint statement issued at the conclusion of the three-day visit by Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L Peiris Tuesday. He had held delegation-level talks with Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna here Monday.

The statement said that India “urged the expeditious implementation of measures by the government of Sri Lanka, to ensure resettlement and genuine reconciliation, including…. investigations into allegations of human rights violations, restoration of normalcy in affected areas and redress of humanitarian concerns of affected families.”

The Sri Lankan government had been accused by a report of the United Nations Secretary General’s panel of exports of war crimes in its fight against the Tamil Tigers. India had officially reacted by saying that it will engage with the Sri Lankan government on this subject.

However, the UN report was not mentioned in the joint statement, though it was discussed in the talks.

As per the statement, the Sri Lankan minister “affirmed his government’s commitment to ensuring expeditious and concrete progress in the ongoing dialogue between the government of Sri Lanka and representatives of Tamil parties”.

“A devolution package, building upon the 13th Amendment, would contribute towards creating the necessary conditions for such reconciliation,” it said.

Besides, India and Sri Lanka hoped for the early operationalisation of the ferry services between Tuticorin and Colombo and Rameswaram and Talaimannar.

“The two sides also agreed to encourage two-way flow of investments, including in the development of ports and ports related services in Sri Lanka,” said the joint statement.

India will reportedly finance the develoment of Kankesanthurai harbour in Jaffna peninsula. China has been already active in the construction of Hambantota harbour in southern Sri Lanka.

On the economic front, both ministers also spoke about early finalisation of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and also reviewed progress on the feasibility study for the interconnection of India-Sri Lanka electricity grids.

The issue of Indian fishermen was also raised in talks, during which India said that the incidents of “continued violence” were a matter of “serious concern”.

The joint statement noted that “both sides agreed that the use of force could not be justified under any circumstances and that all fishermen should be treated in a humane manner”.