‘Together against Torture’ Seminar in Trinco

[TamilNet, Friday, 27 June 2003, 00:10 GMT]
Legislation against torture in Sri Lanka is kept in law libraries as an ornament and is not implemented to prevent torture, said Human Rights lawyer, Mr. K. Sivapalan, addressing a seminar on ‘Together against Torture,’ held Thursday in Trincomalee to commemorate the United Nations (UN) International Day.

Torture seminar
A section of the students participated in the seminar on Together against Torture.
The seminar was held in support of the Victims of Torture, under the auspices of the Family Rehabilitation Centre (FRC), which is headquartered in Colombo

A large number of students attended the seminar held at the Town Hall, sources said.

The Trincomalee district’s Additional Government Agent, Mr.M.S.M.Niyas, participating as the chief guest said that torture should be eliminated from the society once and for all. No community would condone torture of another human being in the civilized era.

Mr.Sivapalan quoted from a book written by Professor Dr.Ravindra Fernando on "Medico legal aspects of torture," in which the Professor had stated that, in Sri Lanka, suspects are tortured using a method called “Dharma Chakra.” Hands and legs of the suspects are tied like the "Dharma Chakra" symbol.

Mr.Sivapalan said police officers obtain signatures for confessions written in the Sinhala language by them as purported to have been made by Tamil suspects. Speaking on the topic of 'Safeguards against illegal arrest and torture,' Mr. Sivapalan pointed out that the Emergency Regulations (ER) were withdrawn by the State not on the pressure exerted by human rights organizations but following the exit of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress led by its leader, Mr.Rauff Hakeem, from the People's Alliance cabinet, thus forcing the government to allow the ER to lapse, as it could not muster the necessary parliamentary majority to extend it.

"Likewise, the present UNF government abandoned the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) following the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Liberation Tigers. It is sad to note that the two draconian laws, ER and PTA, were not abandoned because of agitation made by human rights groups in the island but due to other events," Mr.Sivapalan said.

The Trincomalee co-ordinator of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, Ms. V.Mathiaparanam, Assistant Director of Education, Mr.M.Vijendran, and journalist Mr.K.Ratnalingam also spoke.

The FRC’s district counselor, Mr.S.Sathieskumar, at the commencement made the welcome address and outlined the activities of the FRC in curbing torture and other human rights violations, sources said.

Torture seminar
( L-R) Assistant Director of Education Mr. M.Vijendran, Human right lawyer Mr.K.Sivapalan, Trincomalee district Additional Government Agent Mr.M.A.M.Niyas.


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