Protecting Rights defenders, a challenge to Diplomatic missions- Ganesan
[TamilNet, Monday, 24 December 2007, 15:01 GMT]
In an appeal addressed to all Diplomatic Missions in Colombo, Mano Ganesan, Leader of Western People’s Front and Convener of Civil Monitoring Commission, said Friday, that it is a challenge Western Democratic Governments which have expressed "human rights as the most core issue" in Sri Lanka, to urgently move to protect defenders of human rights and humanitarian workers. Ganesan recently charged that Colombo, by withdrawing his security personnel, is creating a climate for getting him assassinated.
On February 20, 2007, U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake visited Mano Ganesan at his CMC office to recognize his contributions to the defense of human rights and his other democracy-building activities.
Mr. Ganesan received a "Freedom Defender's Award" from the U.S. Government on 11 December. Ganesan has been in the forefront of those seeking an end to the abductions, disappearances and extrajudicial killings that afflict Sri Lanka, the U.S. Embassy said adding that he has demonstrated commendable integrity in combating the climate of impunity for human rights violators.
Mr Ganesan said several Diplomatic missions were already in contact with him regarding his safety, and that he will be following up with meetings with the diplomats once the Missions reopen after the Christmas break.
Full text of the appeal follows:
Friday 21st December, 2007
FROM the offices of:
Member of Parliament for Colombo District
Leader of Western People’s Front
President of Democratic Worker’s Congress
Convener of Civil Monitoring Commission
POST BOX 803 72 BANKSHALL STREET COLOMBO SRI LANKA
Excellency High Commissioners, Ambassadors, Delegates of the UN, all members of the international community and International Human Rights organizations:
Your Excellencies/Sirs/Madams,Withdrawal of my personal security personnel and equipments
Ministerial Security Division (MSD) personnel who protected me have been withdrawn since the late evening on 18th December. I am now left with two constables.
I am given to understand that under the instructions of Ministry of Defense (MoD) the Inspector General of Police (IGP) has started withdrawing number of security personnel from the security units of various opposition parliamentarians, immediately after the budget vote in the parliament.
I am a Human Rights Defender and a Parliamentarian. This government tries to put me into one same bundle deliberately with hidden intentions.
I have been provided the additional security aftermath of the killing of co-founder of Civil Monitoring Commission Parliamentarian Nadaraja Raviraj almost a year ago in Colombo’s high security zone.
Police intelligence division has repeatedly informed me on the increased level of threats to my life. Based on this I have had requested for the enhancement of my security. My involvement in the human rights campaign as the convener of Civil Monitoring Commission has put me under severe threats to my life and intimidations. Those who are hurt and exposed by our campaign are out there to punish me. This is very obvious. It needs no police intelligence report. Any report is only mere confirmation. But regrettably my security which I believe for all logical reasons should have been enhanced has been slashed down abruptly. One section of the police confirms that I am under constant threat and the other section withdraws my security. It is an act of political decision rather than a police decision.
This government believes that they can either restrict or stop my movements and thereby cripple our human rights campaign. They fail to understand that we in the Civil Monitoring Commission will emerge with more determination and courage.
We may not be part of the government but definitely part of the state. This government does not understand and recognize us as part of Lankan state as a legitimate entity. It appears that government considers that privileges for lawful protection by the state are only for the members of government. This wrong consideration extends from the issues of protection of human rights of the common Tamil masses to the personal security of the human rights defenders and Tamil parliamentarians like me.
This government fails to understand the differences between a state and a non-state entity as it fails to understand the differences between a state and a government. Is this government pushing us towards an alternative state by restricting state protections and privileges only to governments’ partners and people of a privileged community?
Those in the international community who love the people of Sri Lanka and protection of Human Rights of Sri Lankan people should move in to protect the Lankan Human Rights Defenders. It is sad that we have reached a shameful stage where defense of Human Rights defenders and workers has become deplorable under this regime, let alone defending the human rights of the common Tamil civilians, aid workers and truth seeking journalists.
Your governments, UN and Organisations have repeatedly expressed the view that it considers human rights as the most core issue in the Sri Lankan scene. Therefore isn’t the ‘Defense of Human Rights Defenders’ a challenge to you as it is to Sri Lankan Human Rights defenders?
I request for your constructive involvement.