The South Asia Director of Human Rights Meenakshi Ganguly has called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to demand the release of detained human rights activists in Sri Lanka in a piece written earlier today.
Extracts from her piece entitled ‘Silencing Sri Lanka’s Rights Advocates’ have been reproduced below. See the full piece here.
“There’s a grim irony in the timing of the arrests that come just as a resolution on Sri Lanka’s failure to address accountability is under discussion and will be voted on soon at the ongoing United Nations Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva. In spite of council resolutions in 2012 and 2013, Sri Lanka has taken no meaningful steps towards ensuring justice for the victims of abuses during its civil war, and has instead launched an aggressive campaign against those Sri Lankans who advocate for accountability. Human rights defenders, activists, journalists, and civil society members who are critical of the government have regularly been threatened and harassed. Those who have an international profile, such as Fernando, face particular government hostility.”
“Human Rights Council members should demand the immediate release of Fernando and Father Praveen and be clear that this will not deter them from adopting a resolution on Sri Lanka to promote accountability for war crimes. The arrest of these human rights defenders shows just how important it is for countries around the world to stand up for human rights in Sri Lanka.”