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AI told of special intelligence unit

2014 Mar 21

Amnesty International (AI) says it has received particularly disturbing reports that Sri Lankan intelligence forces may have created a special unit to monitor those suspected of conveying information to the UN.

In a statement issued today, the London based international human rights group said that the Government of Sri Lanka continues to wage an aggressive campaign against those advocating for accountability and human rights.

Amnesty said that the government’s ongoing dirty tactics to silence and smear dissidents are a brazen attempt to deflect criticism as the country faces fresh scrutiny at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The Council is due to vote next week on a resolution calling for an international investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka during the protracted and bloody internal armed conflict with the LTTE.

“Sri Lanka must put an end to the campaign of intimidation and dirty tactics against outspoken human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers and families of the disappeared,” said Peter Splinter, Amnesty International Representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

The hasty release of two prominent human rights activists yesterday after their detention on 16 March is a welcome development, the organization said. But behind their case are a number of other peaceful activists who have been detained in recent months in a bid to stamp out dissent.

“While it’s positive that the human rights defenders Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen Mahesan have been released, the world must not be fooled. The fact remains they should never have been arrested in the first place. The Sri Lankan authorities must stop repressing critical voices and ensure the safety of all those who peacefully express inconvenient truths about the country’s post-war human rights situation,” said Peter Splinter.

The organization urges Sri Lanka to correct the disinformation that it has spread about Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen Mahesan, ensure their safety and respect their and others’ work as human rights defenders.

 

 

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