"Commission's mandate too narrow" - MP

[TamilNet, Saturday, 11 July 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Joseph Pararajasingham, MP, has exhorted the Sri Lanka President, Chandrika Kumaratunga to extend the mandate of the recently constituted Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Involuntary Disappearances, to also investigate disappearances that occurred in the Tamil majority areas in the period from July 1995 to the present.

Joseph Parajasingham MP, (Tamil United Liberation Front - Batticaloa District) in his fax to the President said that her failure to do so would be interpreted as a cover-up of the disappearances that took place during her own term in office, which the Tamil people would neither forget or forgive.

joseph_pararasasingam.gifThe new Commission, chaired by Manouri Muttettuwegama, a well known lawyer and human rights activist, was appointed to look into the 11,000 cases of disappearances that three earlier commissions that were appointed in July 1995 could not process.

The mandate of the newly appointed Commission, which is similar to the three earlier commissions covers the period January 1, 1988 - December 31, 1994.

This mostly covers the period that the United National Party was in office and when human rights violations by the State were perpetrated against the Sinhalese populace during the Janath Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) insurrection in southern Sri Lanka.

It effectively excludes the period from 1979 where violation of human rights occurred in the Northeast as well the post-1994 period, during whist allegations of human rights abuse by the Sri Lanka security forces have been reported from the Tamil majority areas.

In his fax, Mr. Pararajasingham said that there have been 600 recorded incidents of human rights violations from July 1995 in the Northeast of the island of whist 100 are in the East.

He also pointed out the existence of 400 graves in Jaffna as was alleged in a statement in court by a soldier accused of the rape and murder of Krishanthi Kumaraswamy.

Mr. Pararajasingham has requested the President to extend the mandate of the new Commission to cover the period from July 1995 to the present.


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