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CaptureI was a bit startled to find on Saturday that those who had been arrested at Gintota a couple of weeks back, and then remanded on November 18th until the 30th, had then been remanded again. No one was allowed bail, and they have been put back in prison for a further two weeks. Sadly, I could find no reports of this in any newspaper, nor any worries by the usual run of human rights activists about what seems arbitrary detention.

Given the problems in the area two weeks back, I can understand the police engaging in a trawl and putting people in jail to prevent any possibility of a recurrence of the violence. But now that the situation has settled down, it seems unconscionable that, without charges being made, all those arrested then should continue to be incarcerated.

The usual run of activists will not I suspect worry too much, because they will doubtless think it a good thing that there should be prophylactic detention as it were when there is any risk of racist attacks. But those same activists would not allow the same leeway with regard to the risk of terrorist attacks. Though I will write this week to the Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission to ask what they are doing, and to the UN Resident Coordinator to ask that these persons also be visited by the UN Group on Arbitrary Detention, I suspect there will be no urgency about redressing the situation.

Some years back, when I was Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, I had some responsibility for such matters, though I had to accept that my authority was limited while we were under terrorist threats. But soon after the war ended, I was able to agitate more. What transpired is best illustrated by an extract from my second book on the Rajapaksa Years, Failure in Reconciliation – Read the rest of this entry »

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Rajiva Wijesinha

June 2018
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