His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa
Berlin, 6th Oktober 2008
Representing the INSD, a network of Sri Lankan Diaspora in Europe, we follow the political and social developments in Sri Lanka. We see the respect and promotion of human rights as a fundamental base of any progress in a society.
Therefore we urge you to do your utmost to ensure that human rights defenders can carry out their important work in Sri Lanka. During 2008, at least 5 human rights defenders have reported receiving death threats, often in the form of threatening phone calls. The threats have been intended to stop them from speaking out on human rights issues. Attacks on journalists have included stabbings, abductions and ill-treatment as well as targeted killings. The Sri Lankan authorities have failed to prosecute any perpetrators for attacks on Human Rights Defenders in 2008.
This latest attack on a prominent human rights lawyer, J. C. Weliamuna, sends a chilling message to anyone prepared to stand up and expose human rights violations.
J. C. Weliamuna and his family survived a grenade attack on their home in Colombo on 27th September. The grenade exploded on the balcony of their bedroom though luckily they were not harmed, but caused extensive damage to their house.
J. C. Wliamuna is the head of the Sri Lankan branch of Transparency International, an international NGO which campaigns against government corruption.
In September, J. C. Weliamuna had been the legal representative in a case involving serious police malpractice which was heard by the Supreme Court. As a result, the court ordered an investigation into police intimidation and the filing of false charges against his client. On September 30, a man forced his way into J. C. Weliamuna’s office. He gave the name of an unknown person he claimed to be looking for. However, staff in the office believed he was really looking for J. C. Weliamuna.
We urge you to order a full and impartial investigation by a competent authority into the attack on J. C. Weliamuna, to publish the results and to bring those responsible to justice. We urge you further, to protect J. C. Weliamuna and his family, using all measures deemed appropriate by J. C. Weliamuna himself.
Ranjith Henayaka-Lochbihler Nadarajah Straube