New mass grave found in Sri Lanka four years after war

Updated 18 March 2014
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New mass grave found in Sri Lanka four years after war

COLOMBO: An unmarked mass grave has been found in Sri Lanka’s former war zone, the first discovery of an unmarked gravesite since troops defeated Tamil rebels more than four years ago, police said.
Construction workers in the coastal district of Mannar stumbled on at least 10 skeletal remains buried at a location where they were laying a new water pipe, said police spokesman Ajith Rohana.
“A judicial medical officer has gone to the site. Further forensic examinations are underway to determine the age of the mass grave,” Rohana said. “Additional staff are being inducted for the investigation.”
There was no immediate indication who the victims were or how and when they had died.
However, it is the first time that evidence of a mass grave has emerged in the former war zone since troops declared victory over separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas in May 2009.
Both government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels have been accused of killing civilians during the 37-year separatist war.
Sri Lanka has denied allegations that its troops killed up to 40,000 civilians in the final months of fighting.
Earlier this year construction workers stumbled on another mass grave in central Sri Lanka, hundreds of kilometers away from the conflict zone.
At least 154 people had been buried in the grave at the central district of Matale, a hotbed of an anti-government uprising between 1987 and 1990.
Local forensic experts said it dated back to a period when the then-government led a crackdown on leftist Sinhalese rebels.
The insurgency by the mainly Sinhalese JVP was unrelated to the separatist campaign in the north and east by Tamil rebels.
The UN has estimated that at least 100,000 people were killed in Sri Lanka’s Tamil separatist war.


HRW denounces Angola expulsion of 400,000 Congolese

Updated 15 November 2018
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HRW denounces Angola expulsion of 400,000 Congolese

  • Government has claimed that smuggling was organized by irregular migrants
  • The migrants have accused Angolan security forces of physical and sexual abuse

JOHANNESBURG: A global rights watchdog on Thursday called on Angola to halt mass deportations after more than 400,000 migrants mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo fled or were expelled from Angola in just weeks.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) says migrants have been targeted in a massive operation targeting diamond smuggling.
Without producing evidence, the government of President Joao Lourenco has claimed that smuggling was organized and controlled by irregular migrants.
“Angola should stop forcing people to leave the country until it can provide individual assessment and due process guarantees to distinguish irregular migrants from refugees and registered migrant workers,” said Dewa Mavhinga, the HRW southern Africa director in a statement.
In a report, HRW said the government “should immediately suspend the deportation of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, conduct a prompt and impartial investigation into alleged abuses by state security forces.”
The migrants have accused Angolan security forces of physical and sexual abuse that feed a climate of fear and intimidation.
Angola is the world’s fifth-largest diamond producing country.
HRW pointed to UN reports that Angolan security forces and allied youth militias from the ethnic Tshokwe group, shot dead at least six Congolese last month during an operation in Lunda North province bordering Congo.
The government has vehemently denied that its security forces committed abuses during “Operation Transparency.” But the Angolan ambassador to the DRC, Jose Joao Manuel, has said his government was willing to investigate the allegations, according to HRW.
The rights group also expressed fears that the sudden return of tens of thousands of refugees and migrants risked further destabilising southern Congo in the wake of national elections set to take place on December 23.
DR Congo has an abundance of mineral wealth but is rocked by unrest unleashed by rebel groups and militias from within and neighboring nations such as Uganda and Rwanda.
Oil-rich Angola attracts hordes of Congolese as it is relatively stable and offers better employment prospects.
Angola and DR Congo share a 2,500-kilometer (1,550-mile) land border, the longest in Africa.