Sri Lanka: Tamil minister ‘ashamed to be in government’

A minister of Tamil origin says that he is ashamed to be part of the ruling coalition when security forces intimidate rights activists even at present.

Minister of National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages Mano Ganesan told a gathering of family members of the disappeared, Wednesday (30) that activists organising the event have been threatened by state intelligence.

The meeting ‘Disappear the Disappearances’ in the Eastern town of Akkaraipattu attended by hundreds of victims urged the government to fully implement the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution adopted in Geneva last October.

Activists and affected family members marched to the venue calling end disappearances and deliver justice.

The main organiser Britto Fernando and a woman activist was intimidated by Sri Lanka military intelligence, Minister Ganesan told the gathering.

“We have been threatened by police and military intelligence during the former regime while campaigning for justice for the families of the disappeared. I am ashamed to be a minister in a government that came to power promising to end such intimidation,” said Mano Ganesan.

The minister assured to take steps that such incidents would never happen again.

22,000 on record

Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister addressing the meeting pledged that the government will ‘find every possible child’ who disappeared and clarify what happened to the rest.

'The government has signed the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances and will be presented to the parliament within the next two or three months' he further said.

The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID) was told of 22,000 recorded disappearances when they visited Sri Lanka last November.

Rights activists in the country who fear that the number could be much higher than the official fiigure expect the government to secure international involvement in order to establish their whereabouts.

The prime minister had earlier claimed that those who have disappeared after handing themselves over to Sri Lanka security forces are ‘most probably dead’.



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  • JDS is the Sri Lankan partner organization of international media rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The launching of this website was made possible by the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), of which Reporters Without Borders is a beneficiary.