HRC chairman meets Jaffna press, NGOs
[TamilNet, Saturday, 26 January 2002, 10:57 GMT]
A delegation from Sri Lanka's National Human Rights Commission on a fact-finding mission to Jaffna met local journalists and representatives of the consortium of NGOs in the northern peninsula Saturday. The journalists and NGO representatives told the HRC delegation which is led by its chairman Mr. Faiz Mustapha that human rights violations by the Sri Lankan security forces continue in Jaffna largely because of the arbitrary controls imposed on civilian life.
The NGO consortium told the HRC that the Sri Lanka army should lift the night curfew in the peninsula and remove the military pass required of civilians to travel outside Jaffna.
"The adverse security environment in the peninsula which promotes persistent rights violations will change only if the Sri Lanka army's ban and restrictions on fishing and the free movement of the people are removed", the journalists and consortium representatives told Mr. Faiz Mustapha.
They also drew his attention to the fact that the SLA is still blocking civilians displaced by the war from the Thenmaradchi division of the peninsula from resettling in the villages of Ketpali, Vidaththalpalai and Mirusuvil.
Some of the journalists at the meeting told the HRC's chairman that SLA soldiers regularly assault school students passing by their sentry at the Catapult Junction in Thinnevely near Jaffna town.
They told him that 197 prisoners, including 24 PTA detainees, are being held in the Jaffna prison although the jail has facilities to incarcerate only 80.
Mr. Faiz Mustapha observed that that there was no law of the land under which the military could stipulate that the people of Jaffna have to obtain a pass from the SLA to travel outside the peninsula.
The HRC delegation is scheduled to meet the SLA and SLN commanders in Jaffna later in the afternoon Saturday.