An Open Appeal to The Honourable Kofi Annan - Secretary-General of the United Nations sign now

October 6, 2006

Mr. Kofi Annan
His Excellency the Secretary General
The United Nations
New York, USA

1. Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse
His Excellency the President
Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka

3. Amnesty International
International Secretariat
London, UK

2. Asian Human Rights Commission
Hong Kong, China

Your Excellency,

We, the undersigned, deeply concerned by the increasing violation of human rights in Sri Lanka, call for a United Nations initiative and the appointment of a Special Representative of Your Excellency to investigate and report on the:
Continuing violence and terrorism of all parties to the conflict in Sri Lanka;
The current spate of abductions and executions taking place in both Government controlled and LTTE areas, and
Pressure brought on law enforcement officials to prevent the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for these crimes.

The last few decades of Sri Lankan history have shown us that the parties to the conflict are incapable of finding, developing or implementing viable solutions. Mediations and facilitations by outside agencies have not been successful because whatever agreements that were reached have been jettisoned, for one reason or another, during implementation of agreed solutions.

We believe that in the past two years, extremist and militaristic elements both inside and outside successive governments have launched a virulent campaign to oppose any moves to address the genuine aspirations of Sri Lankas minorities and bring about a long-term settlement to the ethnic conflict.

We believe that under cover of a war against terror, extremist elements have launched violent reprisals against Sri Lankas civil society, including journalists and artistes who dare to question and challenge the decisions of the political and military establishments in the country.

The latest manifestation of this campaign has been the current spate of abductions and murders taking place within a broader scenario of deteriorating political and democratic rights in the country and a steady militarization of the Sri Lankan society.

The Colombo District People's Monitoring Committee, a recently formed grouping of representatives from political and civil organizations, claim they possess details of the kidnappings of thirty three Tamil businessmen, nine of whom have been killed and no information as to the whereabouts of another eighteen. The Committee adds that six persons have been released after obtaining millions of rupees as ransom

These abductions have targeted members of all communities and, in places like Jaffna, are occurring during curfew times imposed by government security forces. Some of the victims have been released, others have been found murdered, and many still remain unaccounted for.

Calls to investigate or prevent these abuses are, we believe, blatantly ignored by the government that has, like its predecessors, been taking shelter behind innumerable Commissions to subvert and deflect any attempts to do so by international Human Rights agencies.
All appeals to conduct investigations in an open and transparent manner adhering to the international standards agreeable with the UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions have been thwarted.

These are the circumstances that have compelled us to make this appeal to Your Excellency to intervene in curbing the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in the island, spreading fear and panic among ordinary people, especially Tamils, and bringing back chilling memories of the disappearances and extrajudicial executions in 1988 89, which have not been investigated to date.

We believe law enforcement authorities are helpless in the face of these continuing violations. They maintain that conducting investigations cannot progress due to lack of availability of evidence.

Yet, the arrest and investigation last Friday by Police in Colombo of a leading figure in a government supported paramilitary group, while attempting to obtain a ransom of Rs. 2.5 million from a kidnapped Tamil businessman, is reportedly under pressure by powerful elements within and outside the government for the suspects release.

We believe that if the actions detailed above are allowed to continue, there is little to prevent the country from sliding into the state of anarchy and bloodshed it experienced in the late 1980s.

We believe the voices of the vast majority of Sri Lankans who cry out for a peaceful and negotiated end to the conflict are stifled, by an increasingly aggressive and vociferous minority, and intervention by an august body such as the United Nations is the only remedy to force all parties to negotiate a permanent solution.

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Sheila FrankBy:
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The Honourable Kofi Annan - Secretary-General of the United Nations


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