22 September, 2020

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Rathgama Businessmen Murder: Expose And Condemn Present Situation: AHRC Tells Speaker

While condemning the recent murder of two businessmen in the Rathgama, Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has written to the Speaker Karu Jayasooriya today urging the Government to take steps to improve discipline and ensure that the members of Sri Lanka Police and other security personnel observe the expected high moral standards of the disciplined services.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya

The two businessmen who were reported to have gone missing from Boossa in Rathgama have been killed at Akmeemana and their bodies burnt at the Kanumuldeniya-Megdagamgoda forest reserve in Walasmulla, the Police revealed on February 23. Subsequently, two police officers, attached to the Southern Province Special Investigations Unit (SIU) had been arrested over the abduction and murder of the two businessmen. They were later further remanded until 13th of March.

In its letter, AHRC said it is not surprising to find the same experienced policemen and security officers who previously conducted crimes on the orders during the early stages of enforced disappearances are now committing the same criminal acts.

“Time has come to take extraordinary steps to improve discipline and to ensure that the members of police force and other security personnel observe the expected high moral standards of the disciplined services. A first step is for parliament to expose and condemn the present situation described above,” the AHRC said.

While reminding that the importance of allocating adequate resources to improve the quality of the police and security forces inside the country, the AHRC stated stressed that those who are alleged to have engaged in serious crimes, such as the extrajudicial killings and torture, should be dismissed as a first step in putting in order the security system of the country.

Find below the full letter sent by the AHRC to the Speaker.

Open letter to the Honourable Speaker of the Parliament on the murder of two businessmen Rathgama Bussa area and General state of murder in the Island

Honourable Speaker, the Asian Human Rights Commission is taking this extraordinary step of writing to you about the murder of two businessmen in the Rathgama Bussa area, allegedly by some police officers of the Special Crime Investigating Unit of the southern Province, where two Police officers have already been arrested. Some body parts of the two businessmen have been found in an area not far away from Rathgama Bussa. In fact, the two cases fall into the category of enforced disappearances, which you know has been a problem besetting the whole island for three decades or more.

During the stage of state sponsored disappearances of alleged “rabble elements” in the south, north and east of the Island, the Asian Human Rights Commission predicted that in the near future the habit of enforced disappearances would spread to other sectors of society, particularly to that sector of persons who have some wealth. This has already happened many times:  a famous case is that of former Deputy Inspector General of Police Vaas Gunawardena, who is now on death row for the killing of businessmen. 

During the early stages of enforced disappearances, orders were given by officials of then existing governments, for the alleged purpose of controlling “rabbles elements.” Those orders were carried out by policemen and other security officers. Thus it is not surprising to find the same experienced policemen and security officers, who previously conducted those crimes, now committing the same criminal acts, the totality of which consists of enforced disappearances, for their own benefit. “Their own benefit” means taking money from these victimised individuals for themselves. Truly one section of the police, and apparently it is the more elite section of the police who are seeking to enrich themselves by such criminal activity, is posing a moral threat for everyone on the island 

A further phenomenon is the wide-spread habit of the murder of civilians that regularly taking place. The citation of each murder supports the complaint that Sri Lanka has become a dangerous place and that the basic standard of protecting life has ceased to exist. Locally it is well known that the police or other security personnel are directly or indirectly involved in some of these murders. Even internationally this is known to a certain extent, as it has been recorded by a Dutch documentarist in his documentary film entitled “Murder Land,”  which  chronicles what occurred in Sri Lanka in the eighties. 

I need not tell you that the most primary function of the state and governance is the protection of the lives of all those who are living in the country.  Several sucessive governments neglected their duty to protect lives, and even wrongly stated that each person must look after his or her  own security. Politicians were able to ensure their own security by hiring bodyguards and using corrupt police officers for that purpose.  However, how are ordinary citizens able to protect themselves in a political climate where the use of guns has become so widespread? 

The state has a primary duty to mobilize its full capacity to put its house in order: this implies that those who are called the guardians of society are measured by the highest moral standards, so that they could protect all the people living in the country.  The abject failure by the guardians themselves to fulfil their function of providing protection, both by their acts of omission or worse their commission of crimes, threatens the very survival of society, as well as the social and psychological wellbeing of the people. 

It is a primary duty of Parliament to intervene to ensure that discipline is maintained among the guardians. The fact that watching the sessions of the parliament once is a law moral among the parliamentarians themselves demonstrates that there is a failure to keep the house in order. Judging by the stories of murders, and other crimes of bodily harm, that have been recorded all over the country, this failure now threatens the lives of many people. 

We therefore urge you to do all that is within your power to ensure protection for all the people living in our country.  Due to the neglect of many governments in recent decades, it may already be too late.  However, the time has come to take extraordinary steps to improve discipline and to ensure that the members of police force and other security personnel observe the expected high moral standards of the disciplined services. 

A first step is for parliament to expose and condemn the present situation described above. A second step is for parliament to allocate adequate resources to improve the quality of the police and security forces inside the country. Those who are alleged to have engaged in serious crimes, such as the extrajudicial killings and torture, should be dismissed as a first step in putting in order the security system of the country. 

Given our past history these are difficult tasks.  However, our economic, social and cultural development very much depend on the ability of the government to overcome this great menace to our security.  If businessmen remain in a state fear because of threats of extortion, and worse threats to their life and liberty, by security officers and remain in their homes rather than being actively engaged in business pursuits, how can economic activity flourish in our countryside? These are profound questions.  Given your position as a speaker of the parliament you have a great responsibility to address this problem. 

I’m sure you don’t condone the present state of the serious laps of security and the resulting price that people have to pay.  Therefore, we rely on your goodwill to initiate a process of action within parliament and also to work with the Prime Minister and the President to address this problem and not to let it go neglected for any longer. 

Yours Sincerely,

MD Ashrafuzzaman

International Affairs Section

Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong

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The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) works towards the radical rethinking and fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in order to protect and promote human rights in Asia. Established in 1984, the Hong Kong based organisation is a Laureate of the Right Livelihood Award, 2014. 

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Latest comments

  • 4
    0

    This is the result of inaction by the government against uniformed staff. They are considered infallible.

    • 2
      1

      A first step is for the government to expose and condemned the present situation warned by AHRC.
      Then why the heck the President is hell bent on Capital punishment for drug runners??
      Who and Which gangs are his Foes and Friends??
      On the whole there’s no Law and order in the country as observed by AHRC.
      The thieves , druggies , and murderers are sleeping with each other , that includes himself. Why is he on hot pursuit about drugs?? While the criminals are let lose and free committing more crimes in the country.
      ” Curry favouring” Medamullana gangs hoping for nomination of Presidency?? HELL with country which is on slippery slope while he dreams about the 2nd term of Presidency.
      This country has never been in this lowest of the lowest level in SL history.
      What is more evident that day by day the Literacy rate of the nation stands high which is Very doubtful.
      Go see the villages in the Deep South and talk to villagers. Most of them are illiterate and brain washed by the selfish Politicians.
      They cannot think of anything more than war , racism, and destruction of any other nationalities ,. They’re of warped brain with empty shells of a head. With Very minimal education they become leaders of the country. My mind boggles.
      Really sad state of affair of the state of our country and the village uneducated.

    • 4
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      Mr. Speaker,

      The law enforcement commit crimes. The President committees Illegal and unconstitutional crimes. They are at large and nothing happens, even when caught, and eventually released.

      Sri Lanka, a Land like no other.

  • 5
    0

    Not just the aforementioned brutal murder, but also the parliamentary brawl that damaged the lanken parliamentary democracy in Nov 2018, demolishing even office paraphernalia on the eyes of locals and interntional community in the chamber itself and on screen to the world -have not been investigated yet today.
    They just drag on it from week to another. But we the nation seems nothign to have worked on serving justice. That is becoming typical lanken day today events now. Sirisena as President seesm tob e standing on the way whatever the Law and order would have been the case. But UNPrs too move very slowly.
    :

    Those who have saborataged PARLIAMENTARY on very day are roaming free yet today. Not a single man is arrested yet today. This is typical srilankan where no law and order is taken serious.UNHRC over to you, ,please put the pressure on this brutal govt led by UNEDUCATED sirisena. PM is caught catch 22. Media mafia works only for promotion of vandalism in this country.
    .
    They have been even invited to discussion rounds as nothing may have gone wrong with their behaviours. They the high criminals too seem to have the audacity and sangfroid to face the nation that naked.It s just because the authorities are not wholehearted with anything related to law and order.

  • 6
    0

    The Rathgama businessmen murder is a crime. Not a human rights violation, at least not yet.
    Perhaps Hunan Rights Commission of SL fees so too.
    In SL, investigations can grind to a halt if important elites are involved.
    Thank you Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) for the letter to the Speaker.
    .
    More important is the deafening silence over the arrests in connection with the recent cocaine bust.

  • 1
    0

    Nowhere in the world senior members of the Govt. Forces have stooped down to all
    forms of Crimes and with impunity, ably supported now by MY3 for his personal
    political agenda. Currently the list reads as follows:
    Wasantha Karannagoda Com. Navy during the war. Missing youth in 2008 – 2009.
    Kapila Hendawitharana, ex.Chief of National Intelligence. re a Jaffna-based satellite TV Group. Jagath Jayasuriya, ex- Army (Vanni) Commander re. disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda. Donald Perera, ex-Air Force Commander/Chief of Defence Staff re the 2006 MiG deal.Roshan Goonetillake ex.Air force Commander. Questioned by the FCID regarding the MiG deal.
    Daya Ratnayake ex. Army Commander re Serious Acts of Fraud in EP and Corruption about the removal of scrap iron from the Kankesanturai Cement factory.
    Jayanath Colombage . ex Commander of the Navy charged over the Avant Guard case.Somatilleke Dissanayake ex Commander of the Navy charged over the Avant Guard case.Jayantha Perera ex. Commander of the Navy charged over the Avant Guard case.Police DIG K. L. M. Sarathchandra arrested for the misappropriation of a vehicle.Police DIG Anura Senanayake – remand for allegedly covering up Thajudeen’s alleged murder.
    Major Gen. (Rtd) Mahinda Hathurusinghe:re Serious Acts of Fraud and Corruption re the removal of scrap iron from the Kankesanturai Cement factory.
    Major Gen. (Rtd) Udaya Perera & Director Operations of the Army re Serious Acts of Fraud and Corruption about the removal of scrap iron from the Kankesanturai Cement factory. Navy Commodore D.K.P.Dassanayake. re Missing youth 2008-09
    Directors of Military Intelligence Amal Karunasekera and Major Gen. Suresh Sallay. Questioned. Three Navy officers were arrested and tried for the assassination of parliamentarian Nadarajah Raviraj but all of them were acquitted.
    F.M. Sarath Fonseka – and ex-DS Gotabaya Rajapakse are also liked to the Forces.

  • 0
    0

    Hon Speaker Mr Karu Jayasooriya should appoint this Dude to his CC …. Or at least to his PC…

  • 2
    0

    Punchinilame…….. Speaking of impunity & crime, most frivolous was the case of DIG K.L.M.Sarathchandra for misappropriation of a vehicle???????
    In reality, if action is carried out to the letter today, the entire yahapalanaya should be behind bars remanded. Everyday we see government vehicles misappropriated….
    Stand near schools in Colombo misappropriation galore.
    Sarathchandra’s case was a witch hunt.

    [edited out]

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