The Presidency - European Union

January 5, 2006

Sri Lanka has a long history of human rights violations against Tamil people. Sri Lankan armed forces were accused for large number of killings, torture and disappearance.

The Sri Lankan repressive regime seeks to intimidate in a number of historically well-understood ways. Below are some methods by which the Sri Lankan armed forces and military intelligence have intimidated the Tamil people of Sri Lanka:

1. Extra judicial killing of civil rights activists, thought leaders and persons involved in international advocacy:
Hon. Joseph Pararajasingham MP, was killed in army-controlled territory allegedly by military intelligence and paramilitaries controlled by them.

This highlights the risks to the lives of all Tamil parliamentarians who have traveled internationally to advocate Tamil rights. Family members of other members of parliament have been killed by the Sri Lankan intelligence services - e.g. Mr. Kumar Ponnambalam a leading human rights lawyer was shot in Colombo in 2001.

a. Hon. Mr. Gajendran, TNA MP for Jaffna was seriously injured by the Sri Lankan army earlier this week.

b. Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham is the second TNA MP to be killed this year.

2. Intimidation and killing of journalists: Sivaram Dharmeratnam, editor of Tamilnet (www.tamilnet.com) was abducted and shot in a high security military zone in Colombo. Every one of the four major newspapers in Jaffna has been intimidated in December, journalists arrested and a newspaper worker shot outside the paper's offices in Jaffna.

3. Intimidation and killing of intellectuals, students and academic faculty. Systematic intimidation of the faculty and students of the University of Jaffna in December is detailed below.

4. Sexual violence against women in occupied territories (see below).

5. Increase in disappearances in army custody - The Northern Human Rights commission has confirmed 25 persons disappeared in Jaffna in the last two months.

It is with great sadness that we bring to your attention the killing of Tamil MP and human rights advocate Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham who was shot dead on December 24th, while attending midnight Christmas mass in Batticaloa Cathedral. His wife was critically wounded when she tried to protect him from the bullets. Mr. Pararajasingham is the second TNA MP and member of the Northeast Secretariat on Human Rights (NESOHR) to be killed this year by government death squads, following the murder of Batticaloa MP. A ChadraNehru in February 2005.

We trust that this time will be different and immediate steps are taken to protect the Tamils of Sri Lanka including their MPs, journalists, and universities. We appeal to you to impose sanctions on the government of Sri Lanka until all pro-government death squads have been dismantled and the military intelligence officers who control these squads investigated and disciplined.

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srilanka humanrights