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Mar-16-2014 01:46printcommentsVideo

SRI LANKA: Arrest of Anti-Disappearances Campaigners Underscores Need for a Strong Resolution at the UNHRC

Only a strong resolution will cause Sri Lanka to believe it can no longer persecute Tamils without damaging international repercussions.

Mother and 13-year old daughter arrested in Sri Lanka for terrorism
Mother and 13-year old daughter arrested in Sri Lanka for terrorism, for campaigning over the woman's missing 15-year old son.

(GENEVA) - Recent arrests highlight the need for a strong resolution at the UN Human Rights Council and David Cameron’s duty to ensure the safety of human rights defenders who approached him during his visit.

When the UK Prime Minister David Cameron visited Sri Lanka in November 2013 against the will of much of the British Tamil community, he reasoned that he would use the opportunity to go to the North of the island and see the situation with his own eyes. During his visit to Jaffna, his convoy and accompanying journalists were swarmed by desperate Tamils seeking information on their missing loved ones. On Thursday, two of these Tamils – the mother of a missing boy and her 13-year-old daughter – were arrested by hundreds of heavily armed army and police personnel. British Tamils Forum reminds David Cameron that he has a duty to ensure the safety of these and all other human rights defenders who came to see him.

The actions of the Sri Lankan state are all the more brazen given their timing. Sri Lanka is currently coming under intense scrutiny at the 25th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, and yet these arrests show it no longer has any concern over its international image and, more worryingly, indicate that Sri Lanka does not expect the international community to take any concrete action to arrest its ongoing persecution of Tamils.

The detention of these two women is further evidence, if any were needed, that Sri Lanka has no intention of relenting in this persecution, let alone of investigating its past abuses. Therefore, British Tamils Forum urges the Member States of the UN Human Rights Council to strengthen the draft resolution on Sri Lanka that is currently being debated in Geneva to call for an independent international investigation that has real authority and clout – an investigation that opens the way to robust legal and political action if Sri Lanka continues along its current trajectory.

Only such a strong resolution will cause Sri Lanka to believe it can no longer persecute Tamils without facing damaging international repercussions.

For more on the story of the detention of Balendran Jeyakumari and her 13-year-old daughter, please follow these links: Please also download the BTF statement right at the bottom and read it.


working together for peace with justice and dignity

Kind Regards
shan sutha


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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.