The US Embassy in Colombo, in a strongly worded statement, has hit out at the government for preventing hundreds of people from the north from heading to Colombo today to take part in a demonstration calling for information about their disappeared family members,
The Embassy called on the Sri Lankan authorities to allow free movement of these citizens as the right to freely express opinions is universal and protected under Sri Lankan and international law.
The Embassy also said that the United States is constructively working with international partners to support these basic freedoms through the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution in Geneva.
“We continue to urge the Government of Sri Lanka to follow through on its own commitments to its people by implementing recommendations made in their Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Report;” the Embassy said.
The LLRC recommends thorough investigations into disappearances as well an establishment of a mechanism to address cases of the missing and detained.
The US Embassy says since last year’s UNHRC resolution the United States has grown increasingly concerned by the lack of progress on these issues, as well as backsliding on other important areas of fundamental democratic rights.
“All Sri Lankans should enjoy the same rights and live in dignity, sharing a democratic, secure, and prosperous future,” the US Embassy statement said.
The police blocked a group of people heading to Colombo from the north late last night to take part in a demonstration over the disappeared, Tamil politician Mano Ganeshan said.
He told the Colombo Gazette that some 10 bus loads of people mainly from Vavuniya and Mannar, which were preparing to leave Vavuniya today, were blocked by the police.
Ganeshan said that the police had warned the people that there was information the buses may come under attack when heading to Colombo. (Colombo Gazette)
Report by Easwaran Rutnam