Aussie NGO Dodges Asian Mirror Query – Serious Doubts Over Transparency Of War Crimes Study

Public Advocacy Interest Centre, the Australian NGO who did an extensive research on war crimes allegations during the final phase of Sri Lanka's war, dodged two important questions posed by 'Asian Mirror' with regard to the manner in which they conducted their study.

Public Advocacy Interest Centre has published the report titled “Island of impunity? “which calls for an international investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during Sri Lanka’s civil war.

“The evidence in this report further supports our own findings and those of the UN, that allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the conflict are credible. With Sri Lanka showing no willingness to deal with its own conflict-era crimes, an international investigation must be established without further delay,”  Grant Bayldon, Executive Director of Amnesty International New Zealand told Australian media.

The report documents how Sri Lankan forces allegedly shelled civilians and restricted humanitarian access to its self-declared safe areas during the final bloody months of the conflict in 2009. It also addresses alleged extrajudicial executions by the army as well as the LTTE’s use of child soldiers and civilians as human shields, Australian media says.

However, Asian Mirror yesterday contacted Gamma Pearce, Spokesperson of the Australian NGO and asked two questions regarding the manner in which they conducted the study.

We asked whether they verified the veracity of the information they gathered with authoritative sources representing the government. Whether they agree with the government’s version or not, it is important to verify the details with multiple sources in any form of reportage.

We also asked about the process through which they gathered evidence and analyzed them as the study deals with highly sensitive matters. Therefore, we believe the public has a right to know as to how they gathered evidence and analyzed them.

We emailed our questions to Gamma Pearce yesterday morning and she promised to get back to us with answers as early as possible. She is still tight-lipped over the matter, giving rise to the speculation that the study is lopsided and not transparent. Also, it is suggestive of the fact that  Public Advocacy Interest Centre is not inclined to answer questions posed by media. So much for credibility and accountability!

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