Sunday 12 July 2020
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Encourage investigation into killings of Tamil journalists: Jaffna Press Club to Samantha

Encourage investigation into killings of Tamil journalists: Jaffna Press Club to Samantha

The Jafna Press Club has urged US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power to encourage Sri Lankan Government to conduct investigations into the abductions and killings of Tamil journalists.

The Jaffna Press Club in a petition presented to Samantha Power states:

Many Tamil journalists have been assassinated during the administration of successive governments since 2000. With the assassination of BBC correspondent Mylvaganam Nimalrajan on October 19, 2000 the culture of murdering media personnel reached its climax during the time of the previous government.

In 2007 a Tamil journalist, Subramaniam Ramachandran, was abducted near the Army Camp situated close to his house and so far no news of his whereabouts has been known. Likewise, many other Tamil journalists have been abducted, killed and disappeared while they were on duty. They have not been heard from since.

During the last phase of the war in Vanni (North), many Tamil journalists while on duty in the Vanni area were abducted, killed or made to disappear. The families of these journalists do not know whether they have been killed or are still alive as prisoners in secret torture camps.

So far those who had been responsible for the killings and abductions of journalists have never been brought to justice. Those responsible are instead able to move about freely in the island as the culture of impunity continues.

With the change in government in January 2015 we expected those who committed these crimes would be brought to justice. However, no tangible progress has yet taken place.

It is a known fact that journalists contributed in bringing about change in government.  The Jaffna Press Club had requested the President and the Prime Minister to bring perpetrators to justice but so far no concrete answers or actions have been received from them. In these circumstances we would like to ask you to raise our concerns during your meeting with the Government of Sri Lanka.

The Jaffna Press Club would be grateful if you could kindly urge the present government to show a gesture of good will to protect and promote media freedom, and conduct an independent investigation into abductions, enforced disappearances and assassinations of media workers, through international journalists associations.

The investigation into the disappearance of cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda is being taken up in the South.

Likewise, similar investigations regarding Tamil journalists who were killed, abducted and made to disappear should be impartially investigated and the perpetrators should be punished irrespective of ethnicity.’

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