Regional Citizens Peace Committees to be established in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Sunday, 26 February 2006, 03:38 GMT]
Decision to form Citizen Peace Committees to monitor and report on human rights violations across Jaffna district was taken in a meeting among Secretaries of Jaffna district local councils, presided by Additional Government Agent (AGA), A. Sivasamy, held at the Jaffna district Secretariat Friday, civil society sources in Jaffna said. Head of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission, Rohitha Priyatharsana also participated in the meeting.

The primary aims of the new committees are to maintain humanitarian conditions for peace with the aim of creating an atmosphere of normalcy, and to prevent paramilitaries and State armed forces from committing violence against civilians, informed sources said.

Citizen Peace Committees will be composed of fifteen representatives in each of the fifteeen regional councils, and are tasked to submit a monthly report on the humanitarian conditions prevailing in their respective regional councils to the District Secretariat, sources said.

The meeting reviewed the incidents of violence, harrassment of the public, abductions and other similar human rights violations in Jaffna during the past few months and explored methods that can be used to stop different serious rights violations. Secretaries of local councils also expressed their frustration in the difficulties they encounter in working with Sri Lanka's security forces.

Easy access to Citizen Peace Committees to register complaints, enabling the Committee to take prompt action against the perpetrators of violations, would serve as a damping factor against Security forces or paramilitaries committing rights violations, Secretariat officials said.


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