Jaffna Rights Group declines offer of SLA protection

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 20 June 2006, 10:08 GMT]
The new head of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (SLHRC) for the Jaffna district declined Sunday an offer made by the Jaffna Commander of SLA Major General Chandrasiri to provide security for the SLHRC's workers in Jaffna. The SLA offer was made following the death threats received by the previous head of the Commission for the Jaffna Peninsula Rohitha Priyadharshana who has since left Jaffna.

The Head of SLHRC, Mr. P. Surendiran, said the Commission could not accept such an offer as this will impact the independence the Rights body needs to carryout its work to uphold human rights of the civilians in the district.

Mr. Surendiran together with the SLHRC's lawyer and adviser M. Remedius met with Major General Chandrasiri and Col. Perera, Officer-in-Charge of civil administration, at a high level meeting at Palaly at 3:00 p.m. Sunday lasting 2 hours.

The HRC officials expressed their condemnation of the many human rights violations committed by SLA soldiers and the HRC's inability to take remedial measures.

At the meeting the SLA officers agreed to setup a high ranking committee under the leadership of Col. Perera composed of representatives of all four SLA forces.

Mr. Surendiran said the SL officers gave an undertaking that they’re prepared to assist the Commission in preserving human rights and that in cases of human rights violations committed by the SL forces they would give full cooperation in any investigation that would be carried out by the Commission.

HRC officials told the SLA officers that although there were many complaints of human rights violations committed by the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) the Commission was unable to take any remedial measures. The SL officers said they would soon arrange for the Commission to have special meetings with the SLN.

The Commission also pointed out its concerns against SL forces conducting investigations in residential areas at night, SLA soldiers wearing black masks during street patrols intimidating civilians, and cases of SLA soldiers snatching ID cards of people walking on the road and instructing that they be redeemed at the SL camp.

SL officers reassured the Commission that they will not permit such activities by the Security forces in the future. Any new complaints of such incidents will be dealt by the new Committee and appropriate action will be taken against the soldiers found guilty, the SLA officers told the HRC officials.

 

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