Today, Aug. 19, is World Humanitarian Day, designated by the U.N. to honor aid workers around the world. Today, Amnesty International remembers 17 aid workers killed in Sri Lanka. Their killers have yet to be brought to justice.
The 17 were local staff of the French aid agency Action contre la Faim (ACF) (Action Against Hunger). In August 2006, they were executed in the town of Mutur in eastern Sri Lanka, after an intense phase of fighting between the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels.
The Sri Lankan police bungled the criminal investigation into the murders. A subsequent commission of inquiry failed to identify the killers despite compelling evidence of their identity. The government blamed the Tigers for the killings although a respected Sri Lankan human rights group provided evidence of the government forces’ involvement.
Last year, I wrote on this site that I hoped that a year later, the ACF 17 would no longer be an example of the ongoing impunity enjoyed by the security forces for human rights abuses. Well, it’s a year later and that hope hasn’t been fulfilled.
Sri Lanka has time and again failed to effectively investigate and prosecute those responsible for human rights abuses, including war crimes. Please sign our online petition to the U.N. calling for an international investigation into war crimes and other human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. The families of the ACF 17 and the other victims need justice now!