Flag-flying, missing doctors and arms through the backdoor.  Sri Lanka today

Four days on and the Sri Lankan government is still proclaiming their victory over their 26-year battle with the Tamil Tigers.  According to BBC News, today they’ve declared a victory holiday, where the national flag should be flown, and yesterday the military released footage of the leader of the Tamil Tigers which they say can prove that Mr Velupillai Prabhakaran is dead. The Independent is runnign a story that the leader had made attempts to surrender before being shot dead.  Definitely worth a read.

But away from flag-flying and other such festivities serious human rights abuses persist in Sri Lanka. A most recent example of this is the clampdown on freedom of expression.

Amnesty has previously documented the perils of life as a journalist in Sri Lanka, and yesterday’s news that three doctors have gone missing after being accused of giving giving false information to the media is a clear signal that media repression hasn’t disappeared just yet.

Amnesty International is now urging its supporters to send appeals for their safety.

And while it’s reassuring also to read that the EU has called for an independent inquiry into rights violations which occurred during the Sri Lanka conflict, it’s pretty concerning to receive reports that some EU member states have supplied Sri Lankan authorities with weapons, a clear breach of the EU’s code of conduct on arms exports.  There’s definitely no time for mixed messages from the EU. 

Before I end, I thought I’d note the Tamil demonstrators who’ve been stationed on Parliament Square for nearly three weeks . Despite the apparent heavy police presence, hundreds of Tamils are continuing their peaceful protest in Parliament Square. Whispers of a ban of demos in the Square it seems will do little to stop this protest. I wonder if they are hoping to compete with Brian Haw for the longest demonstration in the Square?

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