Rehabilitation project for persons in protective custody stalls
[TamilNet, Friday, 15 August 2008, 05:26 GMT]
The project to set up a Rehabilitation Centre in Kaarainakar for the persons placed in the protective custody of Jaffna Prison due to death threats by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and SLA-backed paramilitaries has stalled due to objections from Sri Lanka's Defence Ministry, civil society sources in Jaffna said. Colombo insists on housing the said persons in SLA's Special Rehabilitation Centre located in the SLA High Security Zone (HSZ) in Thellippa’lai, sources added.
Secretary to Sri Lanka Ministry of Justice and the Director for Rehabilitation had earlier visited Kaarainakar and inspected the preliminary work done by Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) to set up the Rehabilitation Centre in vacant government buildings in Kaarainakar, an area under SLN control.
Plans were afoot to transfer the said inmates from Jaffna Prison to Kaarainakar Rehabilitation Centre and to engage them in rehabilitation activities or to allow attending vocational courses at Jaffna Technical College.
Humanitarian organizations in Jaffna peninsula say that they can offer assistance to the above persons if they are placed in a Rehabilitation Centre only.
Meanwhile, SLA officials at Palaali SLA Head Quarters, on behalf of Defence Ministry, consistently request representatives of civil societies attending SLA convened meetings, to urge the persons placed in the protective custody of Jaffna Prison to consent to be transferred to the Thellippa’lai center, the representatives said.
On 21 May 2008 the Secretary to Sri Lanka Ministry of Justice and the Director for Rehabilitation inspected Jaffna Prison where nearly 300 hundred persons are placed in protest custody and other potential places.