SRI LANKA: Collateral damage will be to entire country’s detriment 

Dear friends,

We wish to share with you the following statement from National Peace Council of Sri Lanka.

Asian Human Rights Commission
Hong Kong

A Statement from National Peace Council of Sri Lanka forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

SRI LANKA: Collateral damage will be to entire country’s detriment

Media Release

The issue of human rights violations and impunity has reached a critical juncture that could have far reaching implications for the future well being of the country. With major international events scheduled to take place in the coming months, and with the SAARC Summit scheduled for the end of the month, there had been hopeful anticipation of positive changes for the better. However, the National Peace Council is distressed that the continuing human rights violations that take place with impunity in different parts of the country, including Colombo, will lessen the prospects for Sri Lanka to successfully achieve its objectives, including obtaining the GSP+ tariff concessions from the European Union.

The National Peace Council condemns the attack on a journalist belonging to the Sri Lankan Press Institute, Namal Perera by an armed gang in a white van in Colombo. Both he and British High Commission political officer Mahendra Ratnaweera, who was driving the car in which they were traveling were brutally attacked with clubs. This assault has come shortly after the Sri Lanka Press Institute decided to take legal action against a government-controlled newspaper that had published an allegedly defamatory story about their work, and an earlier search of their office by armed personnel in military uniform.

The intimidation of those who seek to be an independent voice in society is a most unacceptable feature of life in Sri Lanka today.  We regret that these human rights violations are taking place despite repeated pledges by senior government leaders including President Mahinda Rajapaksa to protect the democratic rights of the people. We regret that not all government officials speak in one voice on the issue of human rights and democratic freedoms. We appeal to the government to ensure that it speaks and acts in a consistent manner that is in accord with human rights and democratic freedoms even in this time of war. We fear that unless this is done, the collateral damage to the country as a whole will outweigh by far the benefits of repression that favour a few vested interests.

Governing Council

The National Peace Council
of Sri Lanka
12/14 Purana Vihara Road
Colombo 6
Tel:  2818344, 2854127, 2819064
E Mail:

The National Peace Council is an independent and non partisan organisation that works towards a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.  It has a vision of a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka in which the freedom, human rights and democratic rights of all the communities are respected.  The policy of the National Peace Council is determined by its Governing Council of 20 members who are drawn from diverse walks of life and belong to all the main ethnic and religious communities in the country.

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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984. The above statement has only been forwarded by the AHRC.

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Document Type : Forwarded Statement
Document ID : AHRC-FST-046-2008
Countries : Sri Lanka,