FORWARDED APPEAL (Sri Lanka): Fear for safety: J.C. Weliamuna, human rights lawyer and His Family 

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is forwarding an appeal received from Amnesty International regarding a grenade attack on a human rights lawyer who is the director of Transparency International Sri Lanka in Colombo.

If you have further queries in this case, please feel free to contact the office of Amnesty International.

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

SRI LANKA: Fear for safety: J.C. Weliamuna, human rights lawyer and His Family

Amnesty International Action Appeal:

Human rights lawyer J.C Weliamuna and his family survived a grenade attack on their home in the capital, Colombo, on 27 September. He has since gone into hiding, as he remains at risk of further attack.

The grenade attack came at 11.40pm as J. C. Weliamuna, his wife and two sons, aged four months and two years, were asleep. The grenade exploded on the balcony of their bedroom though luckily they were not harmed. However, the explosion caused extensive damage to their home. Police found a second, unexploded grenade in the compound of the house and which they managed to defuse.
[TI Sri Lanka Gallery: Mr.J.C.Weliamuna, Executive Director of Transparency International Sri Lanka, lighting the traditional oil lamp at the opening of an event-file pic]

J.C. Weliamuna is the head of the Sri Lankan branch of Transparency International, an international NGO which campaigns against government corruption. On 23 September, the NGO published a report naming Sri Lanka as 92nd out of the list of 184 corrupt governments around the world. He also represents a number of citizens, who claim that state officials have violated their “fundamental human rights” under the Sri Lankan Constitution.

In September, J.C. Weliamuna had been the legal representative in a case involving serious police malpractice which was heard by the Supreme Court. As a result, the court ordered an investigation into police intimidation and the filing of false charges against his client. At 1.30 pm on 30 September, a man forced his way into J. C. Weliamuna’s offices. He gave the name of an unknown person he claimed to be looking for. However, staff in the office believe he was really looking for J. C. Weliamuna.


During 2008, at least 5 human rights defenders have reported receiving death threats, often in the form of threatening phone calls. The threats have been intended to stop them from speaking out on human rights issues. Attacks on journalists have included stabbings, abductions and ill- treatment as well as targeted killings. The Sri Lankan authorities have failed to prosecute any perpetrators for attacks on Human Rights Defenders in 2008. The latest attack on a prominent human rights lawyer sends a chilling message to anyone prepared to stand up and expose human rights violations.


Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:
– urging the Sri-Lankan authorities to protect J.C. Weliamuna and his family, who survived a grenade attack on 27 September 2008, using all measures deemed appropriate by J.C. Weliamuna himself;

-calling on the authorities to order a full and impartial investigation by a competent authority into the attack, publish the results and bring those responsible to justice,

– asking them to ensure that human rights defenders are able to continue their legitimate work without fear of harassment or intimidation.


His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa
Presidential Secretariat
Colombo 1

Fax: 011 94 11 2446657
Salutation: Your Excellency

Hon. Sarath N. Silva
Chief Justice
Supreme Court of Sri Lanka
Superior Courts Complex
Colombo 12

Fax: 011 94 11 2435446
Salutation: Dear Chief Justice

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa
Ministry of Defense
Ministry of Defense, Public Security, Law and Order
15/5, Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 03,

Fax: 011 94 11 254 1529
Salutation: Dear Minister

Jayantha Wickramaratne
Inspector General of Police
Sri Lanka Police
101/1 Kew Road
Colombo 2

Fax: 011 94 11 244 6174
Salutation: Dear Inspector General


Embassy of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
2148 Wyoming Ave. NW
Washington DC 20008

Fax: 1 202 232 7181


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : AHRC-FUA-010-2008
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Human rights defenders,