UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

And the Ethnic Conflict

Note that as the years go by, individuals are no longer identified as ‘Tamil,’ although all cases refered to the Working Group are indisputably of one ethnic group, part of the wider effort to forget that Sri Lanka’s is a language, religion & geography-based conflict. — Ed/

From the Working Group’s cases database: http://www.unwgaddatabase.org/un/

49/2011

  • Countries: Sri Lanka
  • Persons: Jegasothy Thamotharampillai;Sutharsini Thamotharampillai
  • Adopted Date: 9/2/2011

Mother and daughter arrested without warrant in connection with their deceased son and brother, respectively, alleged ties to a separatist group. A court ordered the detainees releases; however, the Minister of Defense has refused to execute the court order and has appealed the release order, in an alleged attempt to delay the proceedings and to coerce confessions from the detainees about their family member’s alleged engagement in terrorist activities. The Working Group finds the government in contravention of articles 9, 10 and 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 9 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, falling within categories II and III.

30/2008

  • Countries: Sri Lanka
  • Persons: Gunasundaram Jayasundaram
  • Adopted Date: 9/12/2008
A dual Sri Lankan-Irish citizen residing in Singapore arrested upon arriving at the airport in Colombo. The detainee was arrested without a warrant and detained on the orders of the Ministry of Defense with only limited access to counsel or consular officials. The government claims the detainee arrived in Sri Lanka with high-powered communication equipment and was a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam terrorist organization. The Working Group found the government in contravention of articles 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 9, 14, and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, falling within categories II and III.

8/2005

  • Countries: Sri Lanka
  • Persons: Maxilan Anthonypillai Robert;Thirumagal Robert;Loganathan Saravanamuthu;Aarokiyarasa Yogarajah;Selvarasa Sinnappu;Sritharan Suppiah;Selvaranjan Krishnan;Krishnapillai Masilamani;Akilan Selvanayagam;Mahesan Ramalingan;Rasalingam Thandavan;Sarma C.I. Ragupathy;Sarma Raguphaty R.S. Vasanthy
  • Adopted Date: 5/25/2005

13 ethnic Tamils arrested under suspicion of involvement with an armed Tamil opposition group. Detainees allege they were held without charges or trial for several months, subjected to torture, and forced to make self-incriminating statements. The Working Group finds the government in contravention of article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, falling within category III.

24/2001

  • Countries: Sri Lanka
  • Persons: Edward Anton Amaradas
  • Adopted Date: 11/29/2001
14 Sri Lankans of Tamil origin arrested without being charged and forced under duress to sign self-incriminating statements in a language not understood by most of them. The Sri Lankan government claimed that the detentions were consistent with constitutional rights and local laws designed to counter terrorist acts by a separatist group. For some of the detainees there was no evidence presented that they had actually been detained. Other detainees had been released. The Working Group declines to rule on the arbitrariness of the detention of those detainees whose detentions had not been proven or who had been released. For the remaining four detainees, the Working Group finds the government in contravention of article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 9(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, falling within category III.

21/2001

  • Countries: Sri Lanka
  • Persons: Chinniah Atputharajah
  • Adopted Date: 11/28/2001

13 Sri Lankans of Tamil origin arrested without being charged. The government claimed that the detentions were consistent with constitutional rights and local laws designed to counter terrorist acts by a separatist group. Some of the detainees had been released; some had been convicted; and for some no information was provided. The Working Group declines to rule on the arbitrariness of the detention of those detainees who had been released. The Working Group finds that the detainees who had been convicted were not arbitrarily detained. The Working Group finds that the detention of the detainees for whom no information was supplied was inconsistent with article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, falling within category III.

1/1996

  • Countries: Sri Lanka
  • Adopted Date: 5/23/1996

36 Sri Lankan nationals arrested and detained. The Working Group finds 24 of the detainees are no longer being detained and files those cases. The 11 remaining detainees have been charged with crimes, but no violations of the right to fair trial have been indicated nor information provided to the Working Group as to the facts motivating their imprisonment. The Working Group maintains the remaining 11 cases pending for further information.

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