New York, May 24 (IANS) Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged countries not to attend a Sri Lankan military conference that allegedly seeks to justify the thousands killed during the armed conflict with the Tamil Tigers.
Colombo has invited 54 countries to its "Seminar on Defeating Terrorism: The Sri Lankan Experience" from May 31 to June 2.
The conference website says Sri Lankan military officials and panelists will "share their knowledge on counter insurgency and enumerate contributory factors in militarily defeating the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam)", HRW said.
"Sri Lanka's self-proclaimed 'model' of counterinsurgency included repeatedly shelling civilians, targeting hospitals, and trying to prevent the world from finding out about it," said Brad Adams of HRW.
"This conference is nothing more than a public relations exercise to whitewash abuses. No professional, law abiding military should take part in this farce."
In April, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released a report by a panel of experts that accused both government forces and the LTTE of conducting military operations without caring for civilian lives.
It said that as many as 40,000 civilians were killed in the final months of the conflict, which ended in May 2009.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said there were no violation of human rights and there were no civilian casualties.
HRW said that countries invited to the seminar include Australia, Canada,
China, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, the Maldives, Nepal, the Philippines,
Singapore, South Africa, Turkey and Zimbabwe.