Press Release: 27 March 2014
Humanitarian organisation Action Against Hunger International welcomes the United Nations Human Rights Council’s approval of a resolution that paves the way for an inquiry into human rights abuses at the close of Sri Lanka’s civil war. The international inquiry is a crucial move towards ensuring accountability for the alleged war crimes committed during the 26-year civil war, including the massacre of 17 aid workers working for Action Against Hunger in 2006.
On 4th August 2006, the 17 aid workers were brutally executed on the organisation’s premises in Muttur, Sri Lanka. In one of the most serious crimes ever committed against humanitarian workers, they were lined up, forced to their knees and shot in the head. To date, none of the perpetrators has been brought to justice.
‘This is a great victory for the families of our late colleagues, a huge relief for everyone working for Action Against Hunger, and a huge step towards justice for those who suffered from the atrocities committed during the war. We’ve campaigned for justice for seven years; an international and independent inquiry into the deaths of our colleagues can finally be launched and a message be sent that the killing of civilians and humanitarian workers will not go unpunished,’ said Serge Breysse, Advocacy Director for the french headquarters.
Action Against Hunger’s own inquiry into the massacre reveals evidence implicating members of Sri Lanka’s security forces in the crimes. Action Against Hunger is fully committed to cooperating with the authorities in charge of the investigation by providing all the information it has about the massacre of its 17 colleagues.
Those responsible for the atrocious crimes committed during the civil war must be brought to justice and there must be an end to the impunity despite the reluctance of the Sri Lankan Government to support the inquiry. The Sri Lankan Government’s refusal to recognize legal mechanisms should not deter the international community from bringing the perpetrators of human rights violations to justice.