Depriving families of the disappeared in the North from travelling to Colombo to join in a peaceful protest is to be brought to the notice of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) this week, claimed K.J. Britto Fernando, from the Right to Life Human Rights Centre.
According to Britto, a petition is to be handed over to the UN office in Colombo this week to notify the UNHRC as to how the families of the disappeared were deprived of travelling to Colombo last week to join in a peaceful protest, which was to be held in front of the Viharamahadevi Park, Colombo.
Britto said he had to travel to Vavuniya to meet the family members of the disappeared and was informed that the Vavuniya Police had not allowed permission for them to travel to Colombo.
He queried as to why the Vavuniya Police had taken such a decision to prevent these people from travelling to Colombo, as they were neither terrorists nor carried any weapons with them.
“They were only carrying the photos of their loved ones who have gone mission after surrendering to the army. When the police was strict claiming that this group cannot be allowed to go to Colombo at that time, which was around 1am on March 6. Fr Sebamalai had requested the ASP Vavuniya to open the road for him to take the people to St Anthony’s Church. Out of the remaining three buses the ASP allowed only one bus to take the people and the other two buses were not allowed to move. The bus had to ply four journeys to bring all 650 people,” Britto said.
He further claimed how the Government Agent Vavuniya, rrefused to meet the family members of the disappeared when they wanted to handover a petition to him on March 6.
“As these people were prevented from travelling to Colombo they decided to hold a protest in front of the Kachcheri and demanded the GA to come and accept the petition. Fr Sebamalai and three TNA Parliamentarians requested the GA to come out and accept the petition from the aggrieved family members. The GA refused to come out and as a result the parents blocked the road claiming that they will not get up until the GA accepts the petition. It was then the GA sent his deputy to accept the petition,” Britto said.