"Right to life not guaranteed in constitution"

[TamilNet, Thursday, 25 January 2001, 05:10 GMT]
"The Sri Lankan constitution does not guarantee the right to life. Many human rights violations and murders are possible due to such loopholes in the constitution. The Sri Lankan government refused to sign an international convention that would have obliged it to act responsibly on the question of human rights violations and missing persons. It is the governmentís duty to explain the fate of persons reported missing. But it does not do anything. This is the reason why it is possible not to take any action to bring those responsible for murdering journalists to book" said V.T Thamilmaran, senior law lecturer at the University of Colombo Wednesday, addressing the 90 days remembrance meeting for slain Jaffna journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan in Colombo.

nimalrajan_201000.jpg"A constitution that does not guarantee the right to life is worthless. The government's position that peace can be achieved through war is a lie. The presence of armed groups working with the Sri Lanka army is a great menace in the north and east. Nimalarajanís sad end is a reflection of this truth. Journalists have exposed those who committed war crimes in this country" Thamilmaran said.

The editor of the popular Sinhala political weekly, Ravaya, in his address said "Nelson Mandela was arrested as a youth and was released from prison when he was an old man. But he was alive. It is not so in Sri Lanka. In this country there is no guarantee for the life an arrested person"

Mylvaganam Nimalarajan worked as the Jaffna correspondent to the Ravaya and was a regular contributor to the BBC.

Mr. R. Thurairatnam, a senior journalist from Batticaloa who is the secretary of the Eastern Journalistsí Association spoke on the problems faced by Tamil journalists and papers in the north and east.

The Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance and the Free Media Movement organized the remembrance meeting jointly. It was held at the Fatima Church hall in Maradana near downtown Colombo.


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