Justice for slain aid workers in Sri Lanka

Action Against Hunger demands justice for its slain employees in 2006. Photo by: Action Against Hunger

An international NGO which saw 17 of its staff massacred seven years ago in Sri Lanka is planning to amp up lobbying in the coming months for an independent investigation into the killings.

Last month, the U.N. Human Rights Council passed a resolution calling for the Colombo government to carry out a “credible” probe into alleged war crimes, but did not call for an independent body to make an inquiry into the killings.

Action Against Hunger finds this “a missed opportunity for justice” and is hoping for a much stronger mandate next year, Anne Degroux, who is involved in the group’s Justice for Mutur campaign, told Devex in a phone interview.

“We welcome the fact that it was adopted, that it was important for accountability and reconciliation for Sri Lanka… but we would hope that it could have been a stronger resolution,” she said, adding that the resolution “does not address the essential points.”

Degrouz explained that the resolution was “not pushy enough” in launching an investigation into alleged war crimes committed in the country.

The killing of the 17 ACF workers, whose bodies were found in the organization’s compound in 2006, has been cited as one of the worst attacks ever on humanitarian workers.

“We know the only possible way for justice to be served is to have a transparent and impartial international investigation because we think national processes were done,” Degroux said.

Sri Lanka’s more than two decades of civil war ended in 2009, when government forces defeated the Tamil Tigers that wanted to secede from the government to establish an independent state.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.