Last night’s arrest of Ruki Fernando and Fr. Praveen in Kilinochchi on terrorism charges, soon after the arrest of Jeyakumari Balendran and her young daughter on suspicion of harbouring a criminal, is extremely disturbing and an urgent call to action. In stark contrast to what the Government says in Geneva is what it does in Sri Lanka. Human rights activists are being arrested under draconian laws which permit the authorities to interrogate them in isolation for extended periods of time.
It is clear the government wants to go after those who flag human rights abuses. This is happening when deliberations at the Human Rights Council on Sri Lanka are taking place, demonstrating the regimen’s scant regard for international opinion and scrutiny.
It is an urgent call to hold the government accountable and use all means necessary, in Geneva and elsewhere, to secure the safety of Ruki, Fr. Praveen, Jeyakumari, her daughter and others similarly under arrest and detained.
Failure to do suggests that words aside, the international community accepts the democratic deficit in Sri Lanka.