India could have saved Lankan lives


Strong and early objections by the Indian government to the Sri Lankan government’s conduct of the war might have saved civilian lives, Human Rights Watch said.

Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director at Human Rights Watch said that in Sri Lanka, India chose private diplomacy to address concerns about risks to civilians during the brutal conclusion to the fighting between the military and the LTTE.

A United Nations Panel of Experts report found that 40,000 civilians may have died in the last months of the war, largely from indiscriminate government shelling.

However she says after several years of ‘quiet diplomacy’ which had no impact, India joined others at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to call for accountability for war crimes committed by both the government and the LTTE.

It has supported Human Rights Council resolutions on Sri Lanka in 2012 and 2013.

Gangul recalls that in his 2013 statement in support of the resolution, the Indian envoy at the UNHRC noted “the inadequate progress by Sri Lanka,” and called “for an independent and credible investigation into allegations of human rights violations and loss of civilian lives.”