EU Ambassador visits Jaffna
[TamilNet, Thursday, 03 December 1998, 08:38 GMT]
Llkka Uusitalo, the European Union Ambassador for Sri Lanka told the Human Rights Commission in Jaffna that he understood that most of the persons arrested by the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) and the police in the peninsula are civilians. He said paramilitary Tamil groups operating with the SLA are also responsible for grave human rights abuses.
The Ambassador, who was on a official visit to Jaffna from 27 November, returned to Colombo yesterday, December 2.
He visited the office of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) in Jaffna few hours before he left for Colombo and had talks with officials for an hour to discuss the human rights situation in the peninsula.
He inquired from the commission, among other things, how detainees are treated by the security forces and about the alleged mass graves at Chemmani.
Mr. S.Sreetharan a member of the HRC told the Ambassador that he should inquire about this matter from the HRC in Colombo.
Sources said the GTZ, a German government organization is engaged in projects to provide clean drinking water to resettled families in the peninsula, has completed 13 schemes out of the 16 planned.
The EU Ambassador took part in the inauguration of the 13 drinking water schemes in the various parts of Jaffna peninsula.
He visited Valvettithurai, Karaveddi, Kanpolai,Kantharodai, Analaithivu, Kayts, Punguduthivu, Velanai areas.
Meanwhile, large number of people gathered opposite the HRC office in Somasunderam Avenue in Jaffna, this morning with candles and camphor to protest against the disappearances in Jaffna and the government's attitude towards the Chemmani mass grave. The protestors also held prayers.
The Missing Persons Guardian Association (MPGA) in Jaffna, an organisation formed by relatives of the disappeared persons had organised this protest.
An official of the MPGA said that they will hand over a memorandum to the Sri Lankan President through the HRC later in the day.
Human rights organisations say hundreds of people disappeared after being arrested by the Sri Lankan security forces after the SLA moved into the Jaffna peninsula in early 1996.
Amnesty International says that at least 600 of the arrested civilians were tortured to death or deliberately killed by the SLA.
In July 1998, Sri Lankan soldiers on trial for rape and murder of Tamil civilians revealed the existence of mass graves in the Chemmani area of the Jaffna peninsula where many of the victims were buried.