Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Sri Lanka Silences Another Human Rights Activist

by Australian Federation of Tamil Associations, April 21, 2008

AFTA strongly believes that this is yet another attempt by the Sri Lankan State machinery to silence those who raise their voice against the brutal oppression of the Tamil nation in Sri Lanka. How many more must be killed to hide the Truth from the world? Fr. Karunaratnam is the 5th priest to be silenced by state terror in Sri Lanka. AFTA condemns terrorism in all its forms. The use of terrorist methods by the Sri Lankan State is completely unacceptable and will be counter productive to finding a peaceful resolution to the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil nation in Sri Lanka.

Media release
April 21, 2008

SRI LANKA SILENCES YET ANOTHER HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST

Australasian Federation of Tamil Associations (AFTA) condemns in the strongest possible terms the assassination of Rev. Fr. Karunaratneam, Chairman, NorthEast Secretariat on Human Rights (NESoHR), reportedly by the Sri Lankan Security Forces on Sunday 20 April 2008..

After presiding over Sunday mass, while he was steering his broken down vehicle that was being towed, it is reported that the vehicle he was in was specifically targeted by a claymore mine planted and triggered by the Sri Lankan Army’s Deep Penetration Unit.

NESoHR was launched, in July 2004, as part of the Norwegian-facilitated 2002 Peace Process to strengthen the human rights protection mechanisms in the Tamil homeland in Northeast of Sri Lanka. Fr. Karunaratnam was a founder member of NESoHR. It cannot be an accident that two of the eleven founder members of NESoHR who were parliamentarians belonging to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) were also silenced by State terror.

Fr. Karunaratnam led a NESoHR delegation to Geneva in October 2004 and briefed several European human rights organizations about the blatant human rights violations committed against the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. Fr. Karunaratnam has been the contact point for foreign dignitaries visiting the Tamil Tigers held territory in the northeast of the island. Fr. Karunaratnam has also been providing psychological support for those affected by the war and the 2004 Tsunami disaster in the Tamil homeland.

In his latest report issued on April 5, 2008, Fr. Karunaratnam stated that: “The local [Sri Lankan] mechanism to ensure good governance with respect for human rights has miserably failed and there is widespread call for the establishment of a UN body to monitor human rights violations.” He also stated further that, “"NESoHR as the Human Rights body of the Tamil people had high hopes in the UN Human Rights session in view of the build up of opinion against human rights violations committed by state actors in Sri Lanka."

AFTA strongly believes that this is yet another attempt by the Sri Lankan State machinery to silence those who raise their voice against the brutal oppression of the Tamil nation in Sri Lanka. How many more must be killed to hide the Truth from the world? Fr. Karunaratnam is the 5th priest to be silenced by state terror in Sri Lanka. AFTA condemns terrorism in all its forms. The use of terrorist methods by the Sri Lankan State is completely unacceptable and will be counter productive to finding a peaceful resolution to the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil nation in Sri Lanka.

AUSTRALASIAN FEDERATION OF TAMIL ASSOCIATIONS INC.

PO Box 382, Mawson, ACT 2607, Australia

E-mail: chair.afta@gmail.com

Member Associations: Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Auckland and Wellington