Meeting with SLA constructive- Rights officials

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 11:20 GMT]
A delegation human rights activists led by Head of Human Rights Commission in Jaffna, Rohitha Priyatharsana, met with Commanders of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Palaly Military Camp Tuesday at 3.30 p.m. for nearly two hours, sources said. The discussions centered on issues related to increasing numbers of disappearances, arrests, and harassment to civilians caused by frequent cordon and search operations carried out by SLA in populated areas, sources said.

SLA Commander of Northern District Maj.Gen. Chandrasiri, SLA Brigadier General Staff Officer Brigadier Rizvy Zacky and other officials of the SLA participated in the meeting.

Civil society delegation included Human Rights Attorney, Remedius, Attorneys at HRC, Mr K Kuganesan and Mr S Jeyarupan, Head of the NGOs consortium, K Vigeswaran, Head of Jaffna District Human Rights consortium, K Paramanathan, Members of Jaffna District Attorneys Union, Ms Santha Abimannasingham and Ms Kirija, President of Jaffna District Children Welfare Association, Dr K Suseendran, Representatives of HUDEC and Caritas and Jaffna Government Agent (GA) K Ganesh.

The civil society members requested the SLA commanders that Police officers, Gramaka Sevaka official or a Senior citizen of the area should be present when SLA conducts cordon and search operations or when making an arrest. The representatives also stressed that the SLA should inform, through the Grama Sevaka of the area, the Human Rights Commissions on the circumstances of the arrest and where the arrested individuals are taken for further detention.

The civil group also wanted SLA to inform the HRC under what procedures are being used to transfer the arrested individuals to the different SLA camps or police stations, and the efforts taken to bring them before a magistrate.

These requests were made due to the increasing number of complaints by the public of incidents of torture in SLA camps after individuals are arrested and transfer of individuals to Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) in Colombo without informing the relatives of those detained, sources attending the meeting said.

The Commanders responded that the SLA is prepared to investigate each case of disappearance and complaint registered with the HRC, and is willing to produce a report for each case.

Civil representatives attending the meeting said the discussions were constructive and that they expect positive actions to be taken by the SLA on improving the human rights situation in Jaffna.


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