Military enclaves in civilian areas, a Rights violation - Judge
[TamilNet, Friday, 20 December 2002, 12:51 GMT]
Military camps in heavily civilian populated areas is a form of human rights violation, said M. Sittampalam, President of Vavuniya Attorneys Union and District Court Judge, in a meeting at Vavuniya Suthananda Hindu Youth Association building, celebrating the Human Rights Day.
Mr. Sittampalam further said, "Even though there is an environment peace, the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) is still a valid law in Sri Lanka. Therefore we cannot say that human rights violations have been completely eliminated. Rights violations are still taking place."
Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of SriLanka (GOSL) and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are the main reasons why the rights violations have decreased. However, evidence obtained under the draconian PTA is still legally admissible in the Sri Lanka courts of Law. Courts have admitted that many such statements have been obtained under torture of the accused, said Mr. Sittampalam.
"Civil society must work towards creating Human Rights awareness among school children. School curriculum should be augmented with topics in Human Rights issues. We have an obligation and duty to raise voices of protests whenever one sees human rights violations of any kind against the civilian population, especially against vulnerable sections. Human Rights Commissions and Committees should support this endeavour with vigor," added Mr. Sittamplam.