Human rights seminar spotlights victims' sufferings

[TamilNet, Sunday, 16 September 2001, 21:10 GMT]
Speakers at the human rights seminar held Saturday in Trincomalee appealed to the SriLankan Government that provincial high courts be allowed to hear and determine violations cases filed by victims of torture and illegal arrests.

"Human and fundamental rights violations are now on the increase in the Tamil dominated north east province of the country. At present only the Supreme Court in Colombo has been empowered to hear and determine human and fundamental rights violations cases. This has caused tremendous hardships to victims of torture and illegal arrests in seeking legal remedy. Therefore the government should take immediate steps to empower provincial high courts to entertain human rights violation applications," said a senior attorney-at-law Mr.R.Thirukumaranathan speaking at the one-day seminar organized by the Eastern Rehabilitation Organization (ERO) with the assistance of the Canadian High Commission in Sri Lanka.

The seminar for teachers was held Saturday at Trincomalee Sri Shanmuga Hindu Ladies College hall.

Mrs S.Mathiaparanam, Investigating Officer attached to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka in Trincomalee said that "HRC has been empowered to entertain and inquire into complaints of all types of human rights violations including torture and illegal arrests by the law enforcement authorities."

She said according to the present law, victims of human rights violations should seek legal remedy from the Supreme Court within one month from the date of the alleged offence. But the Human Rights Commission has been empowered to entertain complaints of HR violations without any timeframe. "Therefore victims who failed to bring their plight to the notice of the Supreme Court within one month period could approach the HRC to obtain necessary relief by submitting appropriate documents," she stressed.

Mr.Kasinather Sivapalan, ERO's President and human rights lawyer said, the condition of one month timeframe to file HR violation cases in the Supreme Court should be removed completely in the interest of the victims of torture and illegal arrests. "Many victims from the northeast province take several months to come out of their respective areas to go to Colombo due to transport and security problems," he said.

 

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