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Angry Mob Invades Assembly of Families of Disappeared at Oblate Center in Sri Lanka August 12th, 2014
On the afternoon of August 4th, a group of Buddhist monks with a large number of civilians and media personnel forced their way into a meeting being hosted by the Oblate Centre for Peace and Justice in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The mob was intent on disrupting a meeting of families of the disappeared that were meeting in the place to tell their stories to an assembled group of priests, nuns, human rights activists, and representatives of civil society organizations as well as of diplomatic missions. The aim of the meeting was to pinpoint methods and strategies for helping the families of missing people locate their loved ones. The center, which is currently led by Oblate priest, Fr. Ashok Stephen, has been helping civil war victims for years.
Despite repeated requests from the organizers and the diplomatic corp present, the police failed to disperse the mob, but suggested rather that the meeting be disbanded and representatives from both parties attend an inquiry at the police station. Fr. Ashok Stephen, OMI, Director of the CPJ, filed a complaint of criminal trespass against the one Buddhist whose name he was able to determine, but does not think anything will come of it. The families present, which included children, were frightened but the mob, which shouted abuse and took photographs of those present.
Statements on the incident from Fr Ashok Stephen, OMI and Fr Rohan Silva, OMI are available on the website of the Colombo Province.
The Conference of Major Religious Superiors of Sri Lanka have also issued a statement condemning the incident. (Download PDF here)
Senate Foreign Relations Chair Supports UN Resolution on Sri Lankan War Crimes Investigation March 19th, 2014
Senator Robert Menendez, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter earlier today addressed to Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The letter supports the US-sponsored Resolution before the UN HR Council in Geneva calling for an international investigation into crimes committed during the Sri Lankan civil war. In his letter, Chairman Menendez also said: “Over the past year, this committee has noted with concern the deteriorating environment for the democratic process and human rights in Sri Lanka. While this is particularly acute in the north, there are also disturbing reports of an increasingly authoritarian approach across the South and East.”
The 2009 US State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices were released on March 11, 2010.
For the report on Sri Lanka, please go to:
The Annual Human Rights reports are put out by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the US Department of State.