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Amnesty urges protection for TRO workers

Amnesty International, in an Urgent Action release, has expressed “grave concern” for the safety of the seven Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) staffers who were abducted on 29-30 January and are still missing and calling on the Sri Lankan government to ensure the safety of other TRO workers.

In its appeal on Friday (10), Amnesty urged all concerned to write to the Sri Lanka Ministry of Defence, Inspector General of Police and Sri Lanka’s President Mr Mahinda Rajapakse to “undertake and complete as a matter of urgency thorough investigations into the fate and whereabouts of the seven,” and to ensure safety of all TRO workers and the families of the missing.

“It is feared that they may have “disappeared” and there are grave concerns for their safety,” Amnesty said.

“The TRO is seen as being closely affiliated with the LTTE. However, it is a legally registered Sri Lankan charity and its mission is to provide much needed relief, rehabilitation and development for the people of the northeast of Sri Lanka,” Amnesty said.

Contradicting claims by the government, Amnesty insisted “The TRO staff have continued to cooperate with the authorities.”

Amnesty urged its members to write to the Sri Lankan government “expressing concern for the safety of the missing TRO workers [and] urging the authorities to undertake and complete as a matter of urgency thorough investigations into the fate and whereabouts of the seven, and make the findings public.”

It urged members to urge the Sri Lankan authorities “to take immediate measures to ensure the safety of all TRO workers and others involved in humanitarian relief work.”

It also sought “immediate steps to be taken to ensure the safety of the families of the seven missing TRO workers.”

Amnesty noted that “The abductions of the TRO workers, which took place shortly after [talks were announced between the LTTE and Sri Lankan government] were interpreted by some as an attempt to derail this renewed effort to put the peace process back on track.”

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