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Protests in North-East call on Sri Lanka to cut ties with Myanmar junta

Peaceful demonstrations calling on the Sri Lankan government to sever ties with the Myanmar military junta were held by Tamils in Mannar and Batticaloa last week. 

Organised by the North-East Coordinating Committee, the march was joined by human rights activists, civil society forums, people affected by the war and the general public from the North-East. 

In Batticaloa, people and institutional representatives from the surrounding districts of Trincomalee and Ampara also congregated in the Gandhi Park in the district. 

The protests urged Sri Lanka to stop engaging with the military junta-led government of Myanmar and make recommendations in the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council to the effect that human rights are protected in the country. 

The organisers of the demonstration issued a press release detailing Myanmar’s brutal suppression of the protests and the growing international condemnation of the junta’s actions since the coup d'etat took place and the military came into power on February 1. 

“People came to the streets and protested to release their political leaders and voiced for people’s democratic rights. Myanmar military – which has been criticized for genocide against Rohingya Muslims – is using lethal attacks on peaceful protestors,” the statement stressed. 

“More than 120 people were killed to date and several injured. Young women were among the killed and injured and more than half of those killed were below 25 years,” it added. 

The statement then called upon the Sri Lankan government to “campaign at the UN General Assembly and at the Human Rights Council to protect human rights in Myanmar.”

It further emphasised that the countries that belong to the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) grouping to “voice for the Rights of Myanmar people and to disassociate with the military junta regime.” 

“We call upon the United Nations and the international community to pressure the Myanmar military rulers to step down from the power and hand over the power to the democratically elected people’s representatives, ensure the political and fundamental rights of ethnic and religious minorities and also to take all necessary measures to safeguard human rights and democracy in Myanmar,” it concluded. 

Read the full statement here.

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