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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 184th session
(Addis Ababa, 10 April 2009)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of the above-mentioned parliamentarians of Sri Lanka, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/184/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 183rd session (October 2008),

Referring also to the report on the mission to Sri Lanka which the Committee carried out in February 2008 (CL/183/12(b)-R.2), and taking into account the progress report of the Sri Lankan police forwarded on 1 April 2009; noting also that at the session it held during the 120th Assembly, the Committee heard members of the Sri Lankan delegation,

Recalling that the members of parliament concerned, who, except for Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena and Mr. Mano Ganesan, belong to the Tamil National Alliance, have been the target of death threats and harassment, of attempts on their lives or attacks on their property, or both,

Noting more particularly thefollowing information:

  • Regarding Dr. Jayawardena: owing to threats to his security, on 10 June 2008 the Appeal Court directed the police authorities to provide him with a jeep or other suitable vehicle for as long as was warranted; while according to the police he was provided with “a brand new vehicle from the fleet of Police vehicles”, the vehicle is reportedly a Tata Cab that cannot exceed 40 km/h; the Police Department has reportedly launched a campaign to discredit Dr. Jayawardena and depict him as a pro-LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) parliamentarian; he submitted a complaint to the National Police Commission and Parliament's Privileges Committee, whose meetings, in the absence of a Chairman, had been indefinitely postponed; in August 2008, Dr. Jayawardena was prevented from performing a religious retreat at the Madhu Shrine for which he had been granted permission since 1994; on 14 August 2008, he was ordered by Major General Lalith Daulagalla to leave the church immediately as the Secretary of Defence had not granted him permission to stay there, adding that he was an opposition member of parliament; the matter is pending before the National Human Rights Commission;

  • Regarding Mr. Mano Ganesan: a State-sponsored slander campaign has reportedly been launched against Mr. Ganesan to discredit him and his work on enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka; on 2 September 2008, he was questioned by the Director of the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) in connection with peace visits to Killinochi he carried out during the period of the Cease Fire Agreement from 2002 to 2005, and about an alleged special relationship with the LTTE; according to the police report forwarded in April 2009, he had been summoned by the TID because an LTTE member had mentioned his name in connection with a plan to assassinate a minister; stories about the questioning, which was conducted in private, were then being carried in the media, increasing the risk to his security; Mr. Ganesan feels singled out as a human rights defender, an ethnic Tamil parliamentarian and a democratic political party leader belonging to the opposition alliance;

  • Regarding Mr. Chandranehru: according to Mr. Chandranehru, the person who attacked him during a visit to his constituency in June 2007 was Mr. Iniyabarathy, alias “Kumarasuwamy Pushpakumar”; that person, he reported, had been appointed coordinator for President Rajapakse in Ampara District and received his credentials from the President on 25 May 2008; Mr. Iniyabarathy and his group reportedly continue to threaten Mr. Chandranehru's supporters and constituents in an attempt to have them break off contact with him; Mr. Chandranehru can reportedly indeed no longer travel to his constituency for fear of his safety; Mr. Chandranehru has raised the matter as a privilege issue and complained to the Inspector General of Police, the Attorney General and the Speaker, reportedly to no avail so far; according to the police progress reports of August 2008, the police investigation points to one “Parathy” as the likely culprit; an identification parade took place before the Akkaraipattu Magistrates' Court on 16 September 2008, when a suspect was indeed identified; however, the court ordered him to appear upon notice; according to the police report of April 2009, the Attorney General directed the police to apprehend "Parathy" and to have him produced at an identification parade; the case was taken up for trial on 16 September 2008, when the magistrate put it to both parties that they might "compound" the matter and "at this juncture, the minister disagreed to the suggestion made by the court and as a result the case was referred to the Attorney General for instruction”;

  • Family members of Mr. Jeyanandamoorthy and Mr. Ariyanethran and the private secretary of Ms. Kathiraman were abducted shortly before the vote on the 2008 budget; the parliamentarians were threatened that the abductees would be killed should the parliamentarians vote against the budget; the Pillayan paramilitary group was suspected to be behind the abduction and the issue was raised in parliament; the kidnapped persons were released on 15 December 2007; according to the police report of April 2009, there appears to be no nexus between the abduction and the budget voting; that nevertheless further inquiries are being carried out; the Sri Lankan delegation stated that there had been no need to abduct anyone, since the government had a large majority; with regard to the abduction in November 2007 of Mr. Kanagasabai's son-in-law, who has meanwhile been released, the investigation to establish the motive and identity of the culprits is continuing,

  • Mr. Jayanandamoorthy and Mr. Kajendren were summoned for questioning by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in connection with a complaint made by the Inspector General of Police alleging that, together with Mr. Ariyanethran, they had made speeches at a ceremony held in 2006 in Germany in which they made derogatory remarks about the Sri Lankan Government and the Armed Forces and called on the Tamils in foreign countries to assist the LTTE in establishing a separate State; they were given notice to appear before the Court on 10 December 2008 to inquire into the matter; on 7 December 2008, Mr. Ariyanethran was prevented from travelling to India for medical treatment and was informed by the CID unit at the airport that “higher authorities” had issued an order to prevent him from leaving Sri Lanka;

  • Mr. Kajendren's brother was abducted on 24 March 2009 by armed persons inside the high security area in Madiwela/Colombo while he was returning to Mr. Kajendren's home. Eyewitnesses said that he was stopped by a police sentry for a routine check. A little later, a van and more police arrived at the scene and he was bundled into the vehicle before it sped off. An investigation is reportedly under way. According to the source, the abduction could not have happened without the knowledge of the police station in the zone. The source points out that the incident took place barely 48 hours before the TNA was to decide its position on whether to accept an invitation for direct talks with President Rajapakse,
Noting further that it appears from the police report forwarded in April 2009, that no progress has been made in the investigation regarding the attacks on the office of Mr. Kajendren and on the house of Mr. Kishore, and the threats against Mr. Ponnambalam, and that the report does not mention the death threats against Mr. Kanagasabai, Mr. Jayanandamoorthy, Mr. Pathmanathan, Ms. Kathiraman, Mr. Ariyanethran and Mr. Chandranehru made in November 2006 by a person who introduced himself as Gunanan of the Tamil Eela Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) Batticaloa Office; considering in this respect that the TMVP participated in the Batticaloa Provincial Council election of May 2008 and won a majority of votes,
  1. Thanks the authorities for the information provided; also thanks the Sri Lankan delegation for its cooperation;

  2. Is alarmed that yet another family member of a TNA parliamentarian has been abducted; trusts that the authorities will seriously and diligently investigate this matter, as is their duty, and would appreciate being informed in this respect;

  3. Remains concerned that, with the exception of Mr. Chandranehru, in whose case a suspect was identified but who, according to Mr. Chandranehru, is not the culprit, in none of the other cases of threats and attacks against TNA parliamentarians has any progress been made although, at least in one instance, the name of the person who made death threats is known to the authorities; remains particularly concerned at the absence of effective action to identify and punish those responsible for abducting family members and staff of TNA parliamentarians when there are clear leads as to the group behind those abductions and their motive; once again urges the authorities to investigate these abductions seriously and promptly, which it considers all the more important as the group behind the attack has now joined the democratic process; would appreciate receiving the views of the authorities on the allegation that one Mr. Iniyabarathy, later appointed to the President's Office, attacked Mr. Chandranehru during the visit to his constituency in June 2007; also wishes to ascertain the follow-up to the court hearing held in September 2008;

  4. Also remains concerned at the continuing intimidation of outspoken opposition members of parliament, the attempts made to link them to the LTTE and the inadequacy of the security measures afforded them, and at the inertia of parliament's Privileges Committee, which can only hamper parliament's ability effectively to protect the rights of its members and ensure that they can exercise their mandate without fear of harassment;

  5. Reaffirms that freedom of expression and respect for the rule of law must remain a cornerstone of democracy, even in such troubled situations as that of Sri Lanka, since otherwise authoritarian rule may set in;

  6. Can but endorse once again the conclusion of the mission report that there can be no better deterrent to the violence targeting members of parliament, and indeed the public at large, than combating impunity and ensuring that those responsible for assassinations and other crimes are identified, apprehended and brought to justice; and urges the authorities once again to take firm action to this end;

  7. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the authorities, inviting them to provide the requested information;

  8. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 121st Assembly of the IPU (October 2009).
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