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Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
Peace Brigades International forced out of Sri Lanka
On 6 May 1998, Peace Brigades International (PBI) said it had officially pulled out of the country after being told it must submit reports to authorities before publication if it wished to remain working in Sri Lanka. It said it was given the order during a meeting on Monday with officials from the ministries of defence, foreign affairs and other departments.
"PBI believes that placing such restrictions on local and international human rights observers is unacceptable,'' said a PBI statement released by its London office.
``When such measures are applied to non-partisan NGO (non-governmental organisation) witnesses whose presence can increase respect for human rights, the result is counterproductive: these measures undermine trust in the government, and weaken the possibilities for achieving true democracy and respect for human rights,'' the statement said.
PBI, which has had a presence in Sri Lanka since 1989, said as a result its representatives had been unable to receive the residence visas necessary to work in the country.
It said its work in the east of the country, scene of much of the fighting in Sri Lanka's long-running ethnic separatist war, was also "noticeably hindered by the limitations on access to the region'' imposed by the government.
``Under these circumstances we were forced to withdraw much more abruptly than we had planned,'' Anne Harrison, chair of PBI's International Council, said in a letter to President Chandrika Kumaratunga.