A United Nations investigation has concluded that Sri Lankan government forces killed tens of thousands of civilians in the final stages of the country’s civil war in 2009. Its report also says that the Tamil Tiger rebels used civilians as human shields, and that both sides were guilty of atrocities.
The Sri Lankan government had refused to allow the investigating team into the country, and tried to get the report suppressed. It has now rejected its findings.
The report says that government forces deliberately shelled hospitals, UN centres and Red Cross ships in the last rebel-held enclave in the north of the country. It urges Sri Lanka to begin a fair investigation into acts that could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that he cannot investigate the allegations himself unless the Sri Lankan government agrees, or member states make the request, but the pressure group Human Rights Watch disputes this.