Government dragging feet on human rights – CaFFE

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Notwithstanding the assurances those in the government had given about protecting and promoting human rights, during the recent presidential election campaign, those promises had not been kept, Executive Director of the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE), Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said.
The CaFFE head’s reference made at a media conference was about those who had disappeared, political prisoners, custodial deaths and those who had fled the country.

“During the election campaign the leaders of the current government gave a lot of promises about upholding human rights. Although almost 50 days have passed since the government assumed office, they have not fulfilled their promises,” Tennakoon said. “The government promised that it would take action with regard to the persons who were suppressed by the Rajapaksa administration. However, the government had not even taken the basic step to commence an inquiry on the disappearances of political activists, Lalith and Kugan.”
Tennakoon said that government had only attempted to investigate the Welikada prison riot. However it should take steps to ensure that those who left the country due to suppression could return without fear of facing legal action.
Leader of the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) Kumar Gunaratnam had to leave the country due to serious threats; he has the right to engage in politics in Sri Lanka.
“Gunaratnam is asking for the right to engage in politics. The government has urged the journalists who left the country to return.
However they have not returned because the environment necessary for their return has not been established. Only a few policemen and Army officers have returned, but they have to re-join the service,” Tennekoon said.

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