AHRC fears "major breakdown of law and order"

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 31 May 2005, 21:59 GMT]
Saying it was shocked by the assassination Tuesday of a high ranking Sri Lankan military intelligence officer, Major Nisam Muthaliff, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said it was concerned at the escalation of violence, saying Sri Lanka is "heading towards a major breakdown of law and order."

The text of the AHRC's statement follows:

"The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is shocked to learn about the assassination of a high ranking Sri Lankan military intelligence officer Major Nisam Muthalif today in Colombo. The AHRC condemns this murder and further reiterates that Sri Lanka is rapidly heading towards a major breakdown of law and order. The AHRC urge for rapid and effective inquiries into this crime and the perpetrators being brought to justice.

"Another brutal killing took place at the heart of Colombo on 28 April 2005 when a Tamil journalist Mr. Sivaram Dharmeratnam was abducted and killed. There were earlier killings of a High Court Judge Mr. Sarath Ambepitiya on 19 November 2004 immediately followed by the assassination of a torture victim Mr. Gerald Melvin Perera who was shot in public while he was traveling in a bus on 21 November 2005 and his subsequent death in hospital while undergoing treatment. There were also threat to the life of two journalists and some civil society activists. The life in Colombo has thus begun to witness the type of violence which it had experienced in late eighties as well as the years immediately prior to the ceasefire agreement between the government and the LTTE.

"This escalation of violence need to be stopped and the duty to stop it is with the Sri Lanka‚s law enforcing agency, the police. Under no circumstances should anyone, whatever their political ideologies be, be allowed to engage in assassinations and acts of violence. Though this type of violence poses great difficulties to a law enforcement agency to control it still remain their primary duty and also to rapidly investigate and to deal with such violence. If they are unwilling or incapable of dealing with this situation, further retaliations will spread everywhere.

"It is the duty of the government and the opposition to give utmost support and cooperation to the law enforcement agencies to stop this escalation of violence. If the country further deteriorates into panic and acts of retaliation and further violence, people in every part of the country will be the losers once again. Violence in the past decades have deteriorated the conditions of life in the country so much that it has already become one of the most unstable places in the region.

"It is a time that the civil society organisations, the media and all persons of goodwill should speak out and intervene to stop this cycle of violence. If there is no such intervention by the civilians irrespective of race and religion to ensure stability the consequences may soon go beyond the control of everyone.

"The AHRC also urge the United Nations and the international community to make their pressure felt on all sides to ensure that the violence will not spread any further. International interventions often happen only when much life is lost and when the situation is beyond normal repair. It is better to intervene now than to let the situation slip into a situation like that in Nepal or Cambodia. The AHRC once again reiterates that the key issue is the capacity of the law enforcement agency, the Sri Lankan police system, to discharge its obligation to the people. If this system fails in this duty every person and group will exploit the situation to their advantage. When a society is filled with extreme elements of various factions the only possibility of establishing a balance and bringing the society to normalcy lies with the law enforcement agency. We hope that this agency will rise to the occasion."


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