This should have been an humiliating experience for any civilised country, but not for the Sinhalese government. Men and women were invited to make representations for their missing loved ones.
While they were doing so, thugs who were Buddhist monks dashed into the meeting place and disrupted the gathering. These are regular happenings in Sri Lanka and would have been passed off as one of those many incidence, but for the presence of US, UK. EU and Swiss diplomats. In the presence of these diplomats the Buddhist thugs dared to attack the Tamils, who risked their lives to make representations to the commission.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Protesters allied with the Sri Lankan government prevented American and European diplomats from leaving a meeting of families of missing people for nearly two hours on Monday.
Shouting slogans about nongovernmental organizations being funded by Washington, the protesters walked into the meeting here about an hour after it had begun. They photographed several activists and families at the meeting, terrifying some family members who were fearful of government retribution.
“You are living lavishly on the U.S. dollars you earn,” some in the group yelled at the activists and families, who were campaigning to find out what happened to loved ones who disappeared in the nation’s bloody civil war, which ended in 2009.
The meeting brought together families from the formerly embattled Northern Province to talk about their experiences before an audience of diplomats and representatives from civil-society organizations. Michael Honigstein, acting deputy head of mission at the United States Embassy, was among those present.
“I have seen firsthand the intimidation you face as families of the disappeared,” Mr. Honigstein told the family members during the disruption by the protesters. “I honor your courage to come forward and share your stories with us.”
The protesters, who were pushed out of the meeting hall by police officers, blocked the exits for nearly two hours.
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defense has banned nongovernmental organizations from holding news conferences and training workshops for journalists. The government has announced its intention to regulate such organizations closely.
The measures come as the United Nations Human Rights Council prepares to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of serious human rights abuses during the civil war, an inquiry the Sri Lankan government adamantly opposes