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Colombo SLHRC restricts its Jaffna office functions

[TamilNet, Monday, 4 May 2009 15:12 No Comment]

Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (SLHRC) Colombo Head Office Secretary, Ms. Chandra Ellawela, has instructed Jaffna office not to admit anyone seeking protection to their lives into the office but to get the assistance of the police to check them and not to take them to Court in HRC vehicles but in private vehicles, civil society sources in Jaffna said. Meanwhile, it has been decided to instruct persons seeking protection to their lives to do so in one of the five Magistrate Courts in Jaffna peninsula, in a high level meeting between Jaffna Additional Magistrate, T. Wicknarajah and Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Jaffna Commander, according to directions released by the Additional Magistrate, the sources added.

More than a hundred civilians seeking protection to their lives at Jaffna HRC office due to death threats from SLA soldiers and SLA-backed paramilitary men are now placed in the protective custody of Jaffna Prison through Jaffna Magistrate Court.

This is said to have irked the government which attempts to show to the world that all is well in Jaffna peninsula held under the control of occupying SLA and hence the restrictive instructions to Jaffna HRC office and the directive of the Jaffna Additional Magistrate, civil society sources in Jaffna said.

Jaffna HRC officials said that none had sought protection to their lives through them since February this year.

Persons seeking protection to their lives should do so in one of the five magistrate courts in the peninsula, the magistrate’s directive said.

It is further said that those seeking protection via the magistrate courts will be placed in Thellippazhai SLA Rehabilitation Camp.

Civil society sources expressed concern about the above decision which places the persons seeking protection to their lives in the hands of the SLA itself.

Meanwhile, SLA in Jaffna suspects that many youths coming along with the civilians from Vanni have not been placed in the SLA detention centres but have managed to escape detention.
These youths may be Liberation Tigers of youths who had received military training from the Tigers according to SLA.

Though SLA had announced over loud speakers in areas in Vadamaraadchi and Thenmaraadchi instructing such youths surrender themselves to the SLA no one has done so yet.

The five magistrate courts in the peninsula are located in Jaffna, Mallaakam, Point Pedro, Chaavakachcheari and Oorkaavatthu’rai in the islets of Jaffna.

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