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  • » 07/19/2014, 00.00

    SRI LANKA

    Jaffna: government erodes freedom and dignity of Tamil people

    Melani Manel Perera

    A thousand people of all ethnicities and religions participate in a meeting to denounce the conditions in which the North’s Tamils are forced to live. Police desperately try to prevent the rally, even threatening some refugees.

    Jaffna (AsiaNews) - "The Sri Lankan government is violating and destroying the freedom and dignity of the Tamils ​​in the north of the country", denounces Ven. Bendiwewea Diyasena Thero, a Buddhist monk - along with a thousand people drawn from all ethnicities and religions - who participated in a rally held in Jaffna (Northern Province) on 15 July.

    Originally, participants wanted to organize a peaceful demonstration (satyagraha) led by the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement in front of the main bus station in Jaffna. However, the police banned the protest under court order. They claimed that 12 people had submitted a request to block the gathering, for "fear that it could cause problems."

    In addition to this, the security forces have threatened civilians living in the area - including some refugees - warning them not to attend the event.

    However, NAFSO managed to organize a "rally", leading the protesters - Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist monks, priests, civil society representatives, politicians and members of Christian Solidarity Movemement (CSM) - to the city's Weerasignham Hall.

    "Silencing the media - said Fr. Reid Shelton Fernando - or preventing people from gathering and participating in peaceful events will not prevent the truth from being heard. Sacred Scripture says that one day the truth will out. Till then, according to our faith, we pray to our God to lead us to a peaceful society".

    "In the north - said Suresh Premachndran, a lawmaker of the Tamil National Alliance - there are only 1 million people. The Sri Lankan army has only 200 thousand soldiers, of which 150 thousand deployed in the north. This clearly points to an ongoing militarization of the area" .

     

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    See also

    08/03/2013 SRI LANKA
    Sri Lankan police stop hundreds of Tamils from taking part in peaceful protest
    The people blocked (75% women) were from the north and went to Colombo to protest against enforced disappearances. Police and army speak of "security reasons", but witnesses tell of threats.

    30/05/2006 SRI LANKA
    Parish priest urges respect for civilian lives

    The priest told AsiaNews about the massacre of 13 Tamils on the tiny island of Kayts. "People are killed by those supposed to protect them".



    11/09/2006 SRI LANKA
    Jaffna: two priests leave parish under threat

    The two priests remain anonymous for security reasons. One escaped thanks to a miracle: the people's intervention proved crucial as they warned him of the danger. The Justice and Peace Commission said their cases, and the disappearance of Fr Jim Brown, could be a warning to the Church to stop its work for the civilian population.



    11/11/2006 SRI LANKA
    Civilian suffering forgotten by the rest of the world

    The Jesuit Refugee Service has drawn attention to the tragic situation prevailing in the north and east of the country. The response of the international community to violence and hunger is "press releases".



    11/12/2008 SRI LANKA
    Refugees flee Tamil Tigers, but are corralled into government centers
    The government continues its propaganda in support of the war against the Tigers. Much of the population is unaware of the real situation of those living in the area of conflict. Rukshan Fernando, coordinator for the nonprofit organization Law & Society Trust: the refugees are living in precarious conditions, prisoners of the refugee camps.



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