The Tamil National People’s Front has reported that Sri Lankan police prevented Tamil from entering our office in Kokkuvil and harassed them.
This afternoon Jaffna police prevented Tamil journalists from entering our office in Kokkuvil for a media conference, harrased them, and turned them away after registering their names. pic.twitter.com/KIMxl7ftI4
— Tamil National People's Front (@TnpfOrg) April 3, 2022
The incident follows international concern over Sri Lanka’s regard for democratic rights after the government issued a state of emergency in response to widespread anti-democratic protests. Police suppressed demonstrators who protested against the President close to President’s residence. Authorities arrested over 600 people in the Western province.
Responding to these protests a wide range of ambassadors to Sri Lanka, including the EU, US and UK, stressed the need for the government to respect the democratic rights of its citizens.
Sri Lankans have a right to protest peacefully - essential for democratic expression. I am watching the situation closely, and hope the coming days bring restraint from all sides, as well as much needed economic stability and relief for those suffering.
— Ambassador Julie Chung (@USAmbSL) April 2, 2022
Read more here: EU urges Sri Lanka to respect democratic rights
Noting the disproportionate treatment of Tamils on the island, Sri Lanka’s former Human Rights Commissioner, Ambika Satkunanathan, tweeted:
North vs South.
In the South everyone who wanted to protest was allowed to protest.
In the North, journalists were prevented from going to the office of a political party.
I believe this is what’s called discrimination & selective application of the law. https://t.co/pGuBq4G6ng
— Ambika Satkunanathan (@ambikasat) April 3, 2022