More than 250 students from Massachusetts and other states including several Tamil youths Friday participated in Amnesty’s "Get on the Bus for Human Rights" [GOTB] day of action focused on human rights in Uganda, China/Tibet, Sudan, Sri Lanka, and Burma. First rally in the afternoon targetted Sri Lanka, calling on the Sri Lankan government to end arbitrary detentions, torture, and enforced disappearances. The rally was held at the Permanent Mission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, on the 3rd Avenue.
The "End Arbitrary Detention" flier distributed and carried during the rally on Sri Lanka, included the following:
- Mano, a 29-year-old Tamil man, was arrested in March 2007 in Sri Lanka “on suspicion” of being a member of the opposition Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Mano remains in prison to this day, even though the LTTE was defeated by the Sri Lankan government in May 2009. He has never been charged with any crime. While in custody, he has been tortured and his right index finger broken.
Hundreds of people in Sri Lanka are languishing in prison, like Mano, without charge or trial under the country’s repressive anti-terrorism laws, including the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Many of the detainees have been tortured, some have been killed in custody. Their arbitrary detention violates international human rights law. Their torture violates both Sri Lankan and international law. Yet no one has been held accountable.
- We are calling on the Sri Lankan government to: (1) repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act, (2) promptly release the detainees unless they are charged with recognizable crimes and given fair trials, and (3) provide care and compensation to torture victims and hold their torturers accountable.
GOTB is an annual day of human rights education and activism organized by Amnesty International USA Group 133 of Somerville, MA and a dedicated team of volunteer community organizers.