'GOSL responsible for disappearance of Trinco youth' - HRC(UN)

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 09 September 2003, 14:43 GMT]
The Human Rights Committee of the United Nations, established under article 28 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has said in a public statement that the Government of Sri Lanka is under an obligation to make a thorough and effective investigation into the disappearance and fate of J.Thevaraja Sarma, who disappeared after being arrested in Trincomalee by the Sri Lanka Army in 1990.

Ruling on a petition by the youth's father, Mr. S. Jegatheeswara Sarma, at its most recent session in July, the HRC said that the GOSL should order the youth’s immediate release if he is still alive, provide adequate information resulting from its investigation, and adequate compensation for the violations of human rights of the petitioner’s son, the petitioner and his family.

J.Thevarajah Sarma was arrested in Anpuvalipuram in the Trincomalee district by the Sri Lankan Army on June 23, 1990 and his whereabouts are not known. This fact was brought to the notice of the the Human Rights Committee by Mr. S. Jegatheeswara Sarma, the father of the youth, in a petition, with the assistance of Mr. V. S. Ganesalingam of the Home for Human Rights and the London, United Kingdom-based Interights, an international human rights research institution dedicated to the legal protection of human rights.

The HRC has said that the State party is also under an obligation to expedite the current criminal proceedings on the disappearance and ensure the prompt trial of all persons responsible for the abduction of the petitioner's son under section 356 of the Sri Lankan Penal Code and to bring to justice any other person who has been implicated in the disappearance.

The State party is also under an obligation to prevent similar violations in the future, the HRC said.

In his petition to the HRC, Mr.Jegatheeswara Sarma had said that Corporal Sarath of the SLA arrested his son in his presence at his family home in Anpuvalipuram. He alleged that the SLA had beaten and tortured his son immediately after arrest at the Kalaimagal School in Trincomalee.

After being tortured, the petitioner said, the youth was hooded and forced to identify others. The youth was then taken to the Plaintain Point SLA Camp.

Senior officials of the SLA had given conflicting accounts to the petitioner, with some saying that the youth was dead, while others said that he was never taken into their custody.

Repeated attempts by the petitioner to seek information on what happened to his son, including a meeting with then Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Mr. D. B. Wijetunghe, in January 1993, and later a petition to the current Sri Lankan President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunge, in March 1999, have not produced any result as the SLA has been saying that the youth was never arrested, sources said.

The HRC members who ruled on the petition are Mr. Abdelfattah Amor, Mr. Prafullachandra Natwarlal Bhagwati, Mr. Maurice Glèlè Ahanhanzo, Mr. Walter Kälin, Mr. Ahmed Tawfik Khalil, Mr. Rajsoomer Lallah, Mr. Rafael Rivas Posada, Sir Nigel Rodley, Mr. Martin Scheinin, Mr. Ivan Shearer, Mr. Hipólito Solari Yrigoyen, Ms. Ruth Wedgwood, Mr. Roman Wieruszewski and Mr. Maxwell Yalden.


Related Articles:
09.09.03   Communication No. 950/2000 : Sri Lanka. 31/07/2003.

 

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