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Rights, democracy under threat in Sri Lanka: US envoy

Published on Feb 1, 2014 11:17 PM

COLOMBO (AFP) - Democracy is under threat in Sri Lanka and its rights record has deteriorated in the five years since the end of a bloody ethnic war, a top US envoy said Saturday.

Nisha Biswal, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, said Colombo had failed to ensure reconciliation, justice and accountability, and pressure was building for a foreign probe.

"Lack of progress in Sri Lanka has led to a great deal of frustration and scepticism in my government and in the international community," Ms Biswal told reporters at the end of a two-day visit to Sri Lanka.

She said the US favoured a "domestic process" to investigate allegations of war crimes, including charges that thousands of civilians were killed by government forces in the final months of fighting in 2009, but there was no progress.

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