International petition to stop police terrorising Tami Jesuit priest

An international campaign has been launched to urge Sri Lanka government stop police harassment of a Jesuit priest for helping Tamil families memorialize their loved ones lost during the final stages of the war.

Father Elil Rajendram was assisting family members of war dead Tamils install a memorial of granite plaques with names of the war dead engraved on them.

Police banned the memorial event planned for 18 May 2017 on the spurious ground that that such an event might jeopardise national security, peace, and integrity.

Police harassment against Father Rajendram that commenced before the planned memorial event has been continuing following the ban as well.

Amnesty International has called upon Sri Lanka government to Stop the harassment of Father Elil and other activists and victims involved in efforts to remember those who died during Sri Lanka’s armed conflict.

Launching a worldwide campaign Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetti has demanded an end to harassment of Father Elil over memorial to war dead.

“During the first two weeks of May 2017 he was visited six times by military intelligence,” says Sri Lanka Campaign.

“On several occasions, he received anonymous late-night phone calls. Between 16-20th May he was summoned by the police three times to provide statements.”

“To mourn the dead is to be human”

Earlier, International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) slammed the government ban as a move to “criminalise the dead” and the ongoing harassment as “intimidating the living”.

“This is clearly not about conducting an impartial investigation but about frightening the complainants,” said ITJP executive director Yasmin Sooka. “It is unconscionable that the police have gone so far as to question Father Elil’s parents,” she added, “it’s clear that this reprisal is intended to frighten his family and send ripples of fear among all Tamil activists. Moreover it’s sanctioned by the IGP of police. We call upon the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to intervene in this matter and stop the intimidation and reprisals. After all to mourn the dead is to be human”.

The memorial was planned to be held in Sri Lanka’s north eastern Mullivaikkal where the UN has estimated that at least 70,000 unarmed civilians have been killed during the government onslaught against Tamils.



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.