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End harassment of journalists and NGO: HRW to Lanka

Last Updated: Thursday, March 11, 2010 - 12:01

Washington: A prominent human rights
group today asked Sri Lanka to end the alleged harassment of journalists and non-governmental organisations in the country.

"The Sri Lankan government is conducting a carefully
coordinated witch hunt aimed at discrediting critics of the
government," Asia director at Human Rights Watch Brad Adams
alleged in a statement.

"This is extremely dangerous and irresponsible in a
country where journalists and activists have often been
threatened and killed," he said.

Human Rights Watch said on March 4, the directors of
Sri Lankan organisations, the Centre for Policy Alternatives
and Transparency International Sri Lanka, wrote a joint letter
to President Mahinda Rajapaksa expressing their concern about
a press report of the government`s apparent surveillance list.

The list places the directors of the CPA and TISL
among several people in the top category, presumably meaning
that they are under particularly close surveillance.

Concerns about the safety of individuals on the
alleged government surveillance list are heightened because of
previous death threats and attacks, the organisations said.

Both the CPA and TISL played a crucial role in
monitoring the January presidential election, reporting on
electoral violations and the government`s misuse of state
resources to campaign in favor of incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa.

"This smacks of retaliation for reporting on
violations during the presidential election," said Sam Zarifi,
Amnesty International`s Asia-Pacific director.


First Published: Thursday, March 11, 2010 - 12:01
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