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Sri Lanka's Undeclared War on Eelam Tamils
...in the Shadow of a Ceasefire
His Excellency Hon Philip Alston,
UN Special Rapporteur,
Extra-judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions
UN office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10
9 May 2006
Escalation of Extra-Judicial Killings by Sri Lanka agencies.
The International Federation of Tamils -IFT- on behalf of the Tamil Diaspora, wishes to draw your immediate attention to the alarming rate of unbridled acceleration of extra-judicial killings, involuntary disappearances and other human rights violations perpetrated on civilian Tamils by the joint armed forces, the paramilitaries attached to them, Special Task Force and the civilian police of Sri Lanka, approved by President Rajapakse and condoned by his allies from the extremist nationalistic JVP and the Buddhist Chauvinistic JHU and lately from the Opposition UNP, offering its tacit support.
The IFT would like first to place before you three recent horrendous incidents of massacre committed by the Sri Lanka armed forces in Jaffna peninsula that cry out for international action and justice. The first was the Puththur East incident dated April 19, 2006, in which five innocent civilians arrested by the army at a checkpoint at night and taken into the nearby army base for interrogation and their bodies found abandoned the following morning on an esplanade adjoining the army camp, with torture marks and bullet wounds, a clear case of army atrocity.
The second incident was the Nelliyadi one in which seven youths travelling in two auto-rickshaws, were massacred by Sri Lanka army's RPG launchers in broad daylight on Thursday, May 4. The army called the victims, LTTE cadres trying to escape after a grenade attack on a paramilitary camp within 200 metres of the incident. Later it was proved these were Port Authority Employees on their way to a nuptial ceremony, passing the paramilitary camp, in two slow moving auto rickshaws, nearly half an hour after the grenade incident. The bodies are still lying in a mortuary, the army refusing to release them unless the parents of these youths sign a written statement that they were LTTE cadres.
The third incident took place as very recently as Saturday, 6 May. It was another horrendous massacre by the Sri Lanka army at Manthuvil in Thenmaradchi district, involving a school teacher, a trustee of a temple and six others including four students, all of them Hindu devotee-volunteers, staying overnight as is customary at the temple, to make preparations for the forthcoming consecration ceremony of the temple. They were found late the following day, in an isolated area, miles away from the temple, dead, their bodies mutilated. The parents and relatives who went earlier in the day searching for their loved ones found blood soaked garments close by, some identity cards strewn around and some blood stains on the floor and army boot marks in an area of the temple where footwear is taboo. Empty shells discovered in the premises confirmed the gunshots the neighbours heard during the night. Neighbours had also heard army heavy vehicles roaming around the temple, a little past midnight and again, before dawn.
Your Excellency, the three incidents of massacre are only a few examples. On January 2, in an incident in Trincomalee, five students were pushed to the ground and shot behind the ears at close range, where even their parents were intimidated to sign papers stating their sons belonged to the LTTE, if they wanted to remove the bodies for burial. The journalist who exposed the culprits was also killed. Two politicians and community leaders were shot dead. Five decapitated bodies of Tamil youths arrested in cordoned off searches were recovered in distant isolated areas. Within the last two months, more than one hundred Tamils have been killed; scores involuntarily disappeared; and hundreds thrown into prison without trial.
With the appointment of hawks in the Armed Forces in positions of military authority, President Rajapakse has either encouraged extra-judicial killings and involuntary disappearances from the day he assumed office in November, 2005 or not made any assertive attempt to contain them. The murder of the Tamil Parliamentarian Joseph Pararajasingham at the Christmas Midnight Service in the regional city of Batticaloa was a clear and bold demonstration of Sri Lanka government agency audacity. Although the people in the church had provided clear identity and proof of the assassin as belonging to a government agency, the President had failed to take appropriate action to apprehend the culprit, thus vicariously encouraging perpetration of such extra-judicial killing. The SLHRC has reported of at least 45 well-established involuntary disappearances and as many short of clear evidence within two months of Rajapakse's assumption of office. Although there was a lull in the reign of terror immediately before the Peace Talks at Geneva, it has reared its head again with venom since the beginning of March.
Your Excellency, the appended details here do not incorporate similar incidents in Trincomalee or Batticaloa districts. What we have provided here speak only of those in the Jaffna and Vavuniya districts within the last three weeks, a sample to impress upon you the urgency of your attention and quick action, to order a halt to the reign of terror in the traditional homeland of the Tamils in Sri Lanka and prevent the planned genocide of the government.
We thank you in anticipation of your timely action.
International Federation of Tamils