Thursday, June 23, 2005

SLMM hushes up abduction of van driver by LTTE

Colombo, 21 June, ( The family of a Sinhalese van driver who was abducted by the LTTE went to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) to complain. SLMM told them to keep quiet and not to tell the Police. So they didn’t tell the Police.

But they went to the Red Cross in Vavuniya. A man named Anton was in charge and he did not take down the complaint. He told them to come back in two days time.

This is only one part of the story of 32-year-old H. K. C. Abeysekara, National ID 693573254v of Ruwanpura, Kirigalwewa, Medawachchiya. He is a father of two children: son Poorna Deshan Abeysekara(6 )and Dulanjalee Abeysekara (3) His wife Nirmala Dissanayaka 26 yrs.

His job was to drive the Toyota van 51-8464 owned by a Tamil mudalali. He promised to get the Sinhala driver out within two days. Even he is absconding now. The LTTE suspects that the driver is an Army informant.

Finally the father, wife, son and daughter went to a lodge a complaint at the LTTE Kilinochchi office on 16 June 2005. It now stands as complaint no. C.I.B. 11109 382/60.

An LTTE woman cadre took down their statements through a translator. Later they were into another jungle patch. There the LTTE interrogators took statements again after separating father from wife. IN the evening they were brought back to Kilinochchi. Father was brought on a pushbike. Wife and two kids were transported in a motorbike.

They were given shelter in a church till the following day. Next day they were produced before court. Court proceedings took place after hoisting their LTTE flag and singing of their so-called national anthem. At 10 am they were told that Abeysekera cannot be released because he looks very much Army man and he must be an Army informant. Transport was given up to the bus stand on a push cycles for kids. Others were asked to walk.

LTTE took the home telephone number (0712-570110) of Abeysekera. The LTTE has not informed of what has happened to him since.

A complaint (No. 1104) was made to the SLMM 13 June. They have advised the poor father not to complain to SL Police. They called the Tamil mudalali, later who promised to get the driver released within 2 days. Now the mudalali is not responding.

Wife and the two kids are now left with no one to complain. They have not complained to the Police because the SLMM told them not to.

The plight of Abeysekera the driver SLMM is yet to convey to the family. Will they or will they not?

- Asian Tribune -

AI Report on Sri Lanka: Main Focus LTTE Atrocities BY Daya Gamage – US Correspondent to Asian Tribune

The latest Amnesty International report on Sri Lanka has put the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the dock accusing it of politically motivated killings, assassination of political activists of rival Tamil parties and continued widespread recruitment of child soldiers.

The human rights group was sharp enough to unravel the Tiger outfit’s maneuver when it disclosed in the report “increased number of civilians, including members of opposition Tamil groups, were assassinated by the LTTE and (breakaway) Karuna’s supporters. Some of these killings took place in government-controlled territory or near Sri Lankan Army checkpoints, leading the LTTE to accuse the Sri Lanka Army of providing support to Colonel Karuna’s faction.”

The Amnesty International annual report was released last week covering 149 countries, highlighting the failure of national governments and international organizations to deal with human rights violations, and calls for greater international accountability.

The report covers the year 2004.

Briefly touching the several incidents of torture in police custody, the operation of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the introduction by the government of anti-conversion bill and its fallout, the religious tension, the Amnesty International, in its report on Sri Lanka, mostly devoted its energy to highlight the atrocities of the LTTE.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has waged an armed insurrection against the Government of Sri Lanka since 1983 to win a separate nation in the north and east of Sri Lanka for the Tamil minority, who are mostly Hindu, alleging that the government, largely controlled by majority Sinhalese Buddhist, has discriminated against the Tamils and has suppressed their legitimate rights. A Norwegian brokered ceasefire was signed between the Tiger outfit and the government in February 2003 to facilitate talks to end the crisis. Tigers are currently holding several pockets in the north and east of the country.

In its introduction the Amnesty International says, “The ceasefire between the government and the LTTE remained in place, despite number of violations and a failure to resume peace talks. The human rights situation in the north-east deteriorated following violence split within the LTTE in April (2004) and a dramatic increase in politically motivated killings.

“Although a large number of child soldiers were released during the internal fighting (between the LTTE factions), the LTTE continued to recruit children, including through abductions.”

On politically motivated killings, the report says, “there was dramatic escalation in political killings, especially in the east, following the split in the LTTE. From April onwards an increasing number of civilians, including members of opposition Tamil groups, were assassinated by the LTTE and colonel Karuna’s supporters. Some of these killings took place in government-controlled territory or near Sri Lankan Army (SLA) checkpoints, leading the LTTE to accuse the SLA of providing support to (dissident) Colonel Karuna’s faction. The continued killings and intimidation created an atmosphere of fear among the civilian population in the east as well as putting the ceasefire under strain.”

The AI further states, “Throughout 2004 the east remained volatile with continued skirmishes between the LTTE and remaining (breakaway) Karuna supporters, growing number of political assassinations and widespread child recruitment (by the LTTE).”

On the issue of child soldiers, the AI forcefully charges the LTTE of continuous recruitment. “The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported the recruitment of 448 children as soldiers in the first half of 2004, while acknowledging that the actual figure was probably far higher.

“It was reported that a large number of child soldiers were deployed in the fighting between the LTTE and the Karuna faction in April (2004) and that there were some child casualties. Following the fighting, over 1,600 child soldiers from the east (of Sri Lanka), who had fought alongside Colonel Karuna, were disbanded and spontaneously returned to their homes. In May and June it was reported that the LTTE were recruiting many of these demobilized children, using tactics of intimidation, abduction and violence. Parents in the east, angry that their children had been used in internecine fighting, attempted to mobilize in an effort to resist re-recruitment. There was also an increase in child recruitment in the north in mid-2004 as the LTTE tried to make up for the large number of cadres it had lost during the split.”

Briefly turning to the government side, the Amnesty International in its Sri Lanka report says, “In November (2004) the government announced a “reactivation” of the death penalty. Torture in police custody was widely reported and victims seeking redress faced threats and violence. There was little progress towards holding security forces to account for past human rights violations. Religious minorities came under threat, with attacks on Christians and Muslims, as well as the tabling of a bill aimed at curbing religious conversions.”

(Asian Tribune - Washington, D.C. 22 June )