It's all about elections
So at last here it is the countdown to the election has finally begun. And the big question is which of the two main parties can really make a difference. Enough of the small talk, who’s going to win? Will it be the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) or the opposition United National Front (UNF)?OK that caught you out. I’m talking about Sri Lanka. And in two days’ time the country goes to the polls to decide the make-up of the new parliament.Sadly, neither of the two main parties offers much hope on the key issue of human rights. There are still 75,000 people being held in “open” camps with little immediate prospect of being released. The conditions, as the Guardian reported this week, are little different that the ones Amnesty issued concerns about back in December 2009. And pity those who actually backed the Tamil Tigers in the recent conflict. There are currently 9,000 people who were deemed to pro-Tamil Tigers being held and neither the UPFA or the UNF have offered any hope that their conditions will improve. Then of course there’s the increasing restrictions and persecution of the media. And it all looks pretty bleak.One interesting little footnote is the appearance of Dr V Shanmugarajah as a politician.In May 2009, Dr Shanmugarajah was one of three medical staff who went missing during the conflict with the Tamil Tigers after releasing figures to the international media over the number of civilian deaths, and at the time Amnesty was very concerned about his safety.He then retracted his statement and is now standing for a pro-government party in the north of the country, as the BBC reports. OK and yes there are other elections that are on the Amnesty radar at the moment.There’s the small matter of Burma. The military junta is due to hold elections there in October this year. However, the recent decision by the National League for Democracy not to take part has put an extra question mark on the very legitimacy of the poll. Amnesty’s UK Director Kate Allen had a great comment piece on the Telegraph online about it. And you can read all about our concerns in Burma here.Oh and finally, yes Gordon Brown went to a palace earlier today and decided to dissolve the UK parliament. Some organisations here got a bit excited. Here’s the Times take and the BBC’s. But most importantly here’s Amnesty’s. Have a look and see what you can do.
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