Report on Sri Lanka's civil war a 'whitewash'

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An international rights group yesterday called Sri Lanka's report on its 26-year civil war an attempt to "whitewash" growing evidence of alleged government atrocities.

Two years after the conflict ended, Sri Lanka conceded this week that troops caused civilian deaths in the last months of fighting against Tamil Tiger rebels. But its war report takes no responsibility for those deaths or for any alleged violations of the rules of war, New York-based Human Rights Watch said. "This is just the latest and glossiest effort to whitewash mounting evidence of government atrocities during the fighting," the group's Asia director, Brad Adams, said in a statement.

Sri Lanka has been under increasing international pressure to allow for an independent investigation into alleged human-rights violations by troops and rebels.