Retract torture remark, Aussie PM told

Sydney, Nov 26 (IANS) Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott should retract his remarks condoning the use of torture in Sri Lanka, leading rights groups said Tuesday.

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo, Abbott said Nov 15: "We accept that sometimes in difficult circumstances, difficult things happen."

The Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Law Centre, Amnesty International Australia, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, and the Castan Centre for Human Rights denounced the reported statement.

Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees, including rape, had been widely used by Sri Lankan authorities during and since the nearly three-decade-long civil war with the Tamil Tigers that ended in May 2009.

"Torture is always illegal and immoral, and there is no exception for 'difficult circumstances,'" said Elaine Pearson, the Australia director at Human Rights Watch.

"Abbott's remarks give cover to torturers in Sri Lanka and elsewhere, and he should retract them immediately."

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Updated Date: Nov 27, 2013 02:00:06 IST