2ND LEAD (Adds link to Amnesty Press release)

Rights groups condemn "Collective Punishment"

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 04 December 2007, 16:25 GMT]
Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA), a Colombo-based think-tank, and the Free Media Movement (FMM), a media watch group in Colombo, are considering taking legal action against Sri Lanka authorities for the mass arrest of more than 2000 Tamils in suburbs of Colombo this week, media reports in Colombo said. The arrests were made after the Government of Sri Lanka accused the Liberation Tigers of carrying out the two bomb attacks that killed 21 people and injured more than 40 in Colombo.

"The CPA will seek court intervention on behalf of the people who were subjected to cruel and degrading treatment," AFP reported quoting a CPA spokesman.

The Free Media Movement earlier said Tamil civilians with all necessary identification and documentation were still in detention. "The manner in which the arrests are being conducted and that they target a specific ethnic community are extremely worrying," the FMM said in a statement.

The expulsion was internationally condemned as collective punishment of Tamils for the work of Tamil Tiger rebels, AFP said in its report.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International in a press release issued Wednesday, said: "Amnesty International condemns the mass arrests of more than 1000 Tamils by the Sri Lankan police, allegedly in response to the suicide bombings carried out in Colombo on 28 November 2007, for which the government has blamed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

"Amnesty International is deeply concerned that the arrests have been made on arbitrary and discriminatory grounds using sweeping powers granted by the emergency regulations. Those arrested may be detained in inhumane conditions; denied access to lawyers, courts and family members; and face the risk of torture, other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and prolonged arbitrary detention."

According to Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 33, "No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited. Pillage is prohibited. Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited."

Article 33 is derived from Article 50 of the Hague Regulations: "No general penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, shall be inflicted upon the population on account of the acts of individuals for which they can not be regarded as jointly and severally responsible."


Chronology:


External Links:
Amnesty: Amnesty International condemns mass arrests

 

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