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CPA’s FR petition regarding IDPs fixed for further inquiry

[TamilNet, Friday, 19 June 2009 12:06 No Comment]

The Fundamental Rights petition filed by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka challenging the curtailment of internally displaced persons (IDPs) interned in the camps located in Vavuniyaa was listed for further inquiry on July 10 following the application made by the State Counsel that he needed more time to obtain instruction from the Attorney General. The FR petition came up for inquiry Thursday before a three member Bench of the Supreme Court, legal sources said.

The Bench comprised Chief Justice Asoka de Silva, Justices Jagath Balapatebendi and Chandra Ekanayake.

Deputy Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam appeared for the State. President’s Counsel K. Kanag Iswaran with M.A. Sumanthiran, Bhavani Fonseka and Gehan Gunatilake appeared for the Petitioners, the CPA and its Executive Director Pakaiasothy Saravanamuthu respectively.

The Petitioners cited The Ministry of Defence, Defence Ministry Secretary Gothabaya Rajapakse, Northern Province Competent Authority Maj. Gen. G.A. Chandrasiri, Disaster Management and Human Rights Ministry Secretary Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Ministry Secretary U.L.M. Haldeen and the Attorney General as Respondents.

The Petitioners have begged court to declare that the respondents and/or the State have violated the fundamental rights guaranteed to the individuals placed in the IDP camps, more specifically, the right to equality and equal protection of the law, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, freedom to engage in any lawful occupation profession, trade, business or enterprise and as well as freedom of movement and of choosing their places of residence within Sri Lanka.

Presently 300,000 IDPs are interned in 40 IDP camps in Vavuniya, and other areas where their movement has been severely restricted, the petitioners complain.

The petitioners maintain in their FR petition that according to international standards enshrined in the International Covenant and Civil and Political Rights and the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, IDPs have the right to liberty of movement and the right to move freely in and out of camps.

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