Media Release-Address Breakdown
National Peace Council
of Sri Lanka
12/14 Purana Vihara Road
Tel: 2818344, 2854127, 2819064
E Mail: npc@...
Government Needs To Address Breakdown Of Law and Victimisation of Tamils
At this time when attention is focused on the last phase of war and on the humanitarian crisis in the north, there is another less publicised crisis that requires urgent attention by national and international entities who are concerned about the fate of Sri Lanka's people. This concerns the breakdown of law and order and the spate of kidnappings, murders and extortions taking place in the east and other parts of the country. These incidents have been accompanied on occasion by the killing of the suspects who have been arrested by the Police in shoot outs where they were allegedly trying to escape.
There are also disturbing reports of threatening telephone calls and extortion rackets that affect mainly the Tamil population who are already vulnerable due to the stricter surveillance they are under as possible LTTE supporters. This section of the population is especially vulnerable due to the suspicion prevalent in the security forces and general population that Tamil people are more likely to support the LTTE than other people. There are reports of Tamil people in custody who have been released by the law courts being taken again into custody by the security forces on the grounds that they are linked to terrorist activities.
The National Peace Council is deeply concerned at the deterioration in the human security of Tamil civilians both in the conflict areas of the north and outside of them due to arbitrary and illegal actions. One of the roots of the problem of law and order above is the existence of Tamil paramilitary groups which are supporting the government in its anti LTTE operations. In the past fortnight we have had first hand experience of the tragedy that is taking place in our country, unknown to many of us. A former staff member's mother was killed in a house break and a board member's 8 year old niece was killed after a ransom demand was made, both in the east.
The National Peace Council urges the government to disarm all paramilitary groups and to take disciplinary action against any member of the security forces who is found to be involved in illegal activities with them. With the war in the north also taking an enormous humanitarian toll, with hundreds of Tamil civilians being reported killed and injured in the past few days, it is necessary to involve international organisations with credibility, such as the UN, in the demobilisation and reintegration process if the government is to restore the confidence of the Tamil people in its commitment to the rule of law that applies equally to all.
The National Peace Council is an independent and non partisan organisation that works towards a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. It has a vision of a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka in which the freedom, human rights and democratic rights of all the communities are respected. The policy of the National Peace Council is determined by its Governing Council of 20 members who are drawn from diverse walks of life and belong to all the main ethnic and religious communities in the country.