U.N. Is Pressed to Report Toll of Sri Lanka Fighting

By Krishan Francis
Associated Press
Sunday, May 31, 2009

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- A leading human rights group has asked the United Nations to make public its estimate of civilian deaths in the final weeks of Sri Lanka's civil war amid escalating reports over how many died.

Amnesty International said in a statement late Friday that it has received "consistent testimony" that both government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels killed thousands of civilians trapped in the war zone, and it called for an independent international investigation. The group did not say who had testified to the alleged abuses.

The United Nations has said 7,000 civilians were killed and 16,700 wounded from Jan. 20 through May 7. However, these estimates circulated among diplomats and were not released publicly.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company