Sri Lanka military defends arresting mother of missing rebel

Updated 15 March 2014
0

Sri Lanka military defends arresting mother of missing rebel

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's military has rejected allegations that the arrest of a woman and her daughter who were searching for their kin missing from the country's civil war was an act of retribution.
Human rights activists said Thursday's arrest of Balendran Jeyakumari and her 13-year-old daughter Vibhooshika is part of the government's continuing efforts to intimidate families of the missing from the civil war.
Government forces defeated separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009, but Tamil civilians complain the whereabouts of many of their relatives who heeded a call to surrender and those who were arrested are not known.
Jeyakumari was prominent during protests calling for the release of her 15-year-old son, a child conscript of the Tamil Tiger rebels. Her daughter also joined her in protests.
A court ordered Jeyakumari to be detained for 16 days under the country's tough anti-terrorism law. Her daughter was kept in the care of probation officials.
Military spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya said in a statement that the two were arrested for harboring a former rebel who shot at police and fled when they tried to catch him.
He said one policeman was wounded.
He said that the actions by authorities were carried out to "ensure peace, territorial integrity and national unity."
Jeyakumari's son had surrendered to the military at the end of the fighting in 2009, but his family had not been told of his whereabouts.
She has a strong case against the government because it published a photograph of her son in a government book depicting rehabilitation of rebel fighters, rights activists say.
The arrests came as the UN Human Rights Council reviews Sri Lanka's record, including the issue of missing persons and its failure to investigate war crimes allegations against both government and Tamil Tiger rebels.
The United States has sponsored a third resolution on Sri Lanka at the rights council calling for an international probe on alleged war crimes if the island nation fails to conduct one of its own.

Related

Probe war crimes against Tamils

0

Probe war crimes against Tamils

IT’S now over a week since I returned from Jaffna and the images still both haunt and inspire me. The visit I made to the north of Sri Lanka was fascinating — you can get all the briefings you like but nothing can replace seeing the situation for yourself.
There were those who said I should stay away from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka. They said that by going I was giving legitimacy to what has happened in the north of the country. I couldn’t disagree more. By going we were able to shine a light on what more needs to be done.
The end of the civil war in Sri Lanka is a massive opportunity but the issues now need to be grasped. This isn’t about imposing a Westminster view of the world. It’s about standing up for the values that all Commonwealth countries have signed up to. In turn, the rest of the world should recognize political leaders when they get things right.
So what needs to happen? First of all, there should be a transparent, credible investigation into alleged war crimes. No one wants to go back to the days of the Tamil Tigers, a brutal terrorist organization. But equally, the Sri Lankan government cannot look the other way. When I met President Rajapaska I pressed for an investigation to take place — and I made clear that if those investigations were not begun properly by next March, we would call for an international inquiry through the United Nations.
Second, there needs to be greater progress on human rights across the board in Sri Lanka: Genuine freedom of expression and a free media, an end to the intimidation of journalists and human rights defenders and action to stamp out torture.
Finally, there needs to a genuine reconciliation between communities. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with enormous potential in the years ahead. But for too long it has been blighted by conflict. If Sri Lanka takes the opportunity to heal these old wounds then there is the prospect of a much brighter future for all its people.
I know that for many readers the situation in Sri Lanka is deeply personal. It’s not about faceless diplomacy — it’s about your families, friends and their future. So believe me when I say it that we will do everything in our power to help. I’m determined that we play our part in building a brighter future for the people of Sri Lanka and laying the ghosts of the past to rest.
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point-of-view

Bosnia arrests Syrian, Algerian migrants with weapons

Updated 24 September 2018
0

Bosnia arrests Syrian, Algerian migrants with weapons

SARAJEVO: Two migrants, a Syrian and an Algerian national found in possession of firearms were arrested in the Bosnian capital at the weekend, police said Monday.
It was the first time that police found weapons with migrants who have been passing through the Balkan country in growing numbers since the start of the year as they head toward western Europe.
“For the time being we do not know what they were planning to do with (the weapons),” a police spokeswoman told AFP.
“The two men tried to flee when police asked them for documents but they were quickly arrested,” spokeswoman Suvada Kuldija said.
The arrests were carried out on Sunday evening.
Police searched several locations linked to the two where they found and seized a “rifle, four guns, a silencer and more than 100 bullets of different calibres,” the spokeswoman added.
The 34-year-old Syrian national was officially registered with the authorities in charge of migrants, while police were verifying the status of the 23-year-old Algerian.
Since the start of the year, 15,000 migrants trying to reach western Europe have been registered in Bosnia, a minister said Sunday.
So far the influx does not compare with the hundreds of thousands who arrived in Europe via the ‘Balkans Route’ in 2015 and 2016, fleeing war and poverty across Africa and the Middle East.
The route was effectively closed in March 2016.
Now, most of the migrants, who enter Bosnia from Serbia or Montenegro, stay for a few days in Sarajevo before heading toward the northwestern town of Bihac.
Bihac is on the border with Europan Union member Croatia, where they try to sneak into the bloc.
Since the 1990s wars that marked the collapse of Yugoslavia, the Balkans have been considered a center for arms trafficking.
Militants who have carried out attacks in western Europe in recent years are also believed to have passed through.