Family members of missing people from the North, who were travelling to Colombo to participate in a protest campaign and to hand over a petition to UN regarding their disappeared relatives, were blocked in Vavuniya by the police and the militaryon the 5th, a spokesman for Network for Rights (NfR), a network of Sri Lankan journalists and human rights defenders said. They view this as a violation of people’s basic right to peaceful protest.
Reports indicate that about 800 people had been stopped by police and had said they could start their journey the next morning (6th March 2013). The Police had told the protesters that since the police is not in a position to guarantee the safety of the travellers in the night as incidents of stoning of the buses had taken place en route, they had to prevent their movement for their safety. Some of the buses have gone back leaving the people behind, and there was only two buses for 600 people to travel to the UN office in Colombo and they had to subsequently cancel their journey.
The NfR said it calls on members of the United Nations Human Rights Council to consider this undemocratic and a challenge to the world’s human rights body and calls on the UN Human Rights High Commissioner to take up this issue – of blocking the family members of the disappeared coming to the UN office in Sri Lanka.