Protest paralyses Human Rights Commission office in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Monday, 01 March 2004, 15:52 GMT]
The Mothers Front and Missing Persons Guardians’ Association of Jaffna Monday began a sit in protest at the entrance of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission demanding that Colombo should make a concrete response regarding the fate of their children, spouses and relatives who went missing after they were arrested by the Sri Lanka army in Jaffna in 1996-97. The protesting organizations said that Maj. Gen (ret) Janaka Perera, currently Sri Lanka’s ambassador for Australia should be brought to justice as the officers and troops who carried out the massacres were acting under his orders.

The Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (SLHRC) in Jaffna town could not function today due to the protest. “We will continue the protest until we get a favourable and concrete reply," the spokesman for the Missing Persons Guardians’ Association (MPGA) said.

Asked whether one of their main demands is realistic, the spokesperson said: “We have no illusions that the Sri Lanka government will ever recall (Maj. Gen.) Janaka Perera for investigations about the massacres and the large number of young men and women who went missing when he was commander for Jaffna. We do expect justice from the Australian government either. We know how it cultivated close links with Indonesian military officers who were slaughtering thousands of innocents in East Timor during its occupation."

The Jaffna Mothers’ front and the MPGA say that the SLHRC is also engaged in sophisticated prevarication to obfuscate the real nature of their problem.

The two organisations are demanding that Colombo should come up with concrete answers regarding what they allege to be the stalled investigations on the mass graves of Chemmani near Jaffna town where many persons arrested and massacred by the Sri Lanka army in 1996 and 97 are believed to be buried.

The MPGA says that the HRC should pursue the case of a youth who was arrested by the Sri Lanka army in Jaffna in 1997 who was released by the court in Anuradhapura the same year. The youth went missing after his release. MPGA insists that according to court records he was released. The Sri Lanka army arrested more than seven hundred young men and women indiscriminately in 1996 and 97. Human rights activists in the north say that most of these were tortured, raped, brutally murdered and buried in mass graves near Jaffna town.

 

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