"Human rights cases denied adequate aid"

[TamilNet, Thursday, 17 December 1998, 22:57 GMT]
The Director of the Trincomalee Legal Aid Centre, Mr. Sivapalan, said that the Sri Lankan Government does not give adequate help to those who file human rights cases. Mr Sivapalan, who is also a lawyer, made these comments while speaking at a seminar to mark Human Rights Day.

For non human rights cases the courts normally award legal aid costs of between Rs 5000 and Rs 25,000, he added.

The lawyer went on to criticise the inability of human rights organisations to take action against human rights violations.

He took the example of the Human Rights Commission, established by the present government as part of its commitment to the observance of Human Rights.

The lawyer explained that while the Commission is able to take evidence on human rights violations and make suggestions it unable to order investigations. Mr. Sivapalan pointed out that this meant the commission could not even order an investigation into the alleged existence of mass graves at Chemmani, a potentially serious breach of human rights observance.

Meanwhile, residents of Thambalakamam told the EPDP councillor, S.Nanthakumar, and the group's leader for the Trincomalee district that they were afraid of random firing by Sri Lankan Police stationed there.

The residents told the councillors their concerns at the funeral of Naguleswaran held today.

Naguleswaran was shot dead by random firing from the Sri Lankan Police on December 13.

The residents complained that the trigger happy police even fired bullets to pluck young coconuts from trees.

 

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