HRC committee to inquire into disappearances in the East

[TamilNet, Thursday, 23 January 2003, 19:23 GMT]
The chairman of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (HRC), Dr.Godfrey Gunatilake on Thursday said that the HRC is to appoint a committee to look into the complaints of disappearances of persons in Trincomalee and the eastern province, and people in Trincomalee can make their complaints to the committee regarding all disappearances of persons.

Dr. Gunatilake spoke to journalists about his two-day visit to the Trincomalee district Wednesday and Thursday at the regional office of the HRC. He was associated with HRC commissioners Ms. Manouri Muttuvetugama and Mr. Amir Zeinudeen at the press briefing

HRC fact finding mission, Trinco.
( L-R ) Ms Manouri Mutettuwegama, HRC Commissioner, Dr.Godfrey Gunatilake (HRC Chairman) and mr.Amir Zeinudeen ( HRC Commissioner) addressing press briefing in Trincomalee.
Dr. Gunatilake said there was no public agitation in Trincomalee and especially in the eastern province over the disappearance of persons in the past similar to the agitations by the people of the Jaffna district who have successfully organized themselves to bring to the notice of the relevant authorities about the disappearances of persons in their areas.

The HRC is to take steps to strengthen its activities in the eastern province by establishing a regional committee and human rights student centre, said Mr. Gunatilake.

According to him, no complaints were received regarding the arrest of persons under the Prevention of terrorism Act after the ceasefire agreement came into force. There were no fundamental human rights violations in the northeast province.

He added that the major problem in Trincomalee is the resettlement of internally displaced persons. The HRC has a special role to play regarding the resettlement of IDPs. "We visited the Nilaveli camp where IDPs are living in huts. Non-governmental organizations should come forward to do more to the IDPs in resettling them in their own places," said Dr. Gunatilake.

He further said," IDPs are in the dark about their rights and facilities. HRC is to organize an awareness programme among the IDPs to let them know their fundamental and human rights."

Dr. Gunatilake said that the HRC met members of security forces and civil officials in Trincomalee, and added," Our two day visit to Trincomalee has been quite productive."


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