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          Issues raised in our reports highlighted for action

We are aware that several of our readers find these reports daunting. For easy reference we highlight issues which if acted upon will considerably improve the general situation. References in brackets refer to reports from which more information could be obtained.

1. Call upon the Human Rights Task Force to investigate the disappearance of more than 158 persons taken by the army from the Eastern University refugee camp on 5th September 199O and afterwards, who are believed to have been taken to the army camp at Valaichenai commanded by a brigadier. The HRTF had inquired into the disappearance of 32 schoolboys in Emplipitya the previous year, and according to a press report charges are likely to be brought against several army personnel,including a brigadier.

Although thousands disappeared during the current war, this is a particular instance where the army entered a refugee camp and took away 158 persons in the presence of senior academics from the university and thousands of others. The general commanding the East was aware of it within 3 days and the secretary, defence, replied to a query claiming that only 3O were detained and had subsequently been released. All this points to a cover up at very high level. If the HRTF will not act and those involved can get away with something so blatant, then for the people of the North-East, the government appointed machinery to enforce human rights would be exposed as mere window dressing.[7:4,11:1].

2. The LTTE is believed to hold about 4OOO detainees. Large numbers of prisoners had been taken into custody in the early part of 199O and have spent in custody almost three years! Demand from the LTTE that it makes a complete list  available and invites the ICRC to visit the detainees. Demand the release of all political prisoners. [4.4 of Briefing No.1.& 1O.3]

3. Call upon the government to release all detainees against whom charges are not framed within a reasonable period of time.The centre at Kalutara has nearly 5OO Tamil detainees against whom no charges have been made and have been held for more than a year or two. Most them have been arrested on flimsy charges and are kept in various centres.These detainees have gone on hunger stike in protest. There are several Tamils detained by the police in Colombo, in a significant number of cases evidently for purposes of extortion. The latter category includes Tamils with intention of foreign travel and those arriving from the West.[11:1,5;8.1]

4. We have strong grounds to believe that the Sri Lankan government is misusing funds for development and rehabilitation through its military and administrative machinery to drastically alter the ground situation in the East and the Trincomalee District in particular, so as to place the minorities, many of whom are now refugees, in a permanently disadvantaged position. Urge the government to halt all land alienation, changes to the administrative machinery, and all projects that would involve major movements of population , until the cessation of war and the negotiation of political and administrative arrangements fair to the minorities.[11.2].

5. Urge the LTTE to come out with a declaration respecting the rights of Muslims to free movement, to freely carry out their economic and cultural activities without any threat or hindrance, and to reoccupy their former homes in the North-East [6:3; 7,8,11].

6. Call upon the government to pay compensation to Tamil paddy farmers whose crops were confiscated or destroyed on the grounds that they worked on fields belonging to others on arrangements reached with the LTTE.

Adopt uniform standards for all farmers, whether Tamil, Sinhalese or Muslim, who work fields of others absent as a result of violence [11:2.5]


7. Demand that the airforce halts aerial bombing in civilian areas and near public places and schools.

8. Call upon the government to fully implement all 32 recommendations made by the Amnesty International in September 1991 [11:1]

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