ACTC calls for UN peace keeping force in Lanka

Congress President Apapthurai Vinayagamoorthy writes to UN Chief:

The All Ceylon Tamil Congress has appealed to the UN to send a United Nations Peace Keeping Force to the country to protect Sri Lankan Tamils and maintain and ensure peace.

Congress President Apapthurai Vinayagamoorthy. in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon alleged that abductions, killings and illegal arrests which continue in North, East, Colombo and the upcountry were done by the government Security Forces assisted by a Para Military Group.

He has also quoted the Asia Watch as saying that the Emergency Regulations that are being promulgated by the – government every month is the cause for the abductions, killings and illegal arrests as they gave wide powers to security forces.

The letter said:

“Your Excellency’s kind reference is requested to my letter dated 22nd September, 2006 sent to your predecessor regarding the problems faced by the Sri Lankan Tamils in Sri Lanka.

01. All what I have stated in that letter still continue. A copy of which is attached hereto.

02, Abductions, killings and illegal arrests of Tamils still take place almost daily in North, East and in Colombo, and in upcountry also. Tamils who are being illegally arrested in Colombo are sent to a Camp in Boosa and are detained there in thousands.

03. The UNHCR in its report issued in December, 2006 has stated as follows:-

“Tamils in Colombo and its outskirts, where there are large Tamil communities are at heightened risk of security checks, arbitrary personal and house to house searches, harassment, restriction on freedom of movement and other forms of abuse since the imposition of new security regulations in April and December 2006.Under emergency regulations, the police are empowered to register all persons within the jurisdiction of each police station. These regulations, which were enacted during the height of the conflict in the 1990s, remain in place and require all residents to register with their local police station. Such registration, which is taking place in Colombo, enables the police to have accurate information on the ethnicity and location of all inhabitants of Colombo.

Tamils in Colombo are especially vulnerable to abductions, disappearances and killings. Such actions are allegedly conducted by the paramilitary “White vans” suspected to be associated with the security forces, as all as the Karuna Faction and the LTTE. According to press reports, some 25 Tamils were abducted in Colombo and its suburbs between 20 August and 2 September 2006, with only two of these people confirmed released.

The whereabouts and fate of the rest remain unknown. Young Tamil professionals including several women, businessmen as well as Tamil political figures and activists with a pro Tamil stance can be specially targeted. In addition, a number of well known pro-Tamil stances can be specifically targeted.

In addition, a number of well-known pro-Tamil Journalists have been abducted and killed. The Free Media Movement (FMM) submission to the inaugural session of the UN Human Rights Council documented numerous instances of Journalists assault ed, harassed and threatened and cited continued attacks of press freedom in Sri Lanka over the six month period between January and June, 2006.

According to the report, in the first six months of 2006 there have been increases in search operations at media institutions, arrests of journalists and other forms of harassment, particularly the targeting of Tamil media institutions and media workers. A statement by UNESCO condemning the killing of Sinnathamby Sivamsaharajan, the Managing Director Namathu Eelanadu, and a Tamil-Language newspaper in Tellippalai on 26 August 2006 stated that four Journalists had been killed in Sri Lanka since the beginning of 2005.

04. Abductions, killings and illegal arrests which continue in North, East, Colombo and upcountry are done by the Government Security Forces, assisted by the Para Military Group. The action of the Para Military Group which helps t he government has tacit approval of the government and as a result the Tamils do not know to whom to complain.

05. I regret to note no action seems to have been taken on my letter dated 22 September 2006.

06. I shall be very much obliged if you could inform me what action the United nations has taken on my earlier letter and what it intends now to do to protect the Sri Lankan Tamils.

In this connection a copy of a letter sent by Hon. Kim Howells, Minister of State of the foreign Commonwealth Office who came to Sri Lanka recently to the Elfyn Llwyd Esq., MP is attached hereto. In this letter he states as follows:-

“I share Mr. Vinayagamoorthy’s concern at the worsening security and human Rights situation in Sri Lanka.

All human abuses by any party to the conflict are deplorable and in all cases there must be credible investigations and perpetrators should be brought to justice”.

07. Asia Watch has stated that the Emergency Regulations that are being promulgated by the government every month is the cause for the abductions, killings and illegal arrests as they give wide powers to Security Forces.

08. In the circumstance, I have no other alternative once again, but to request your Excellency to immediately send a United Nations Peace Keeping Forces to provide the Sri Lankan Tamils and maintain and ensure peace”.

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