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UNP to ask govt. to give better facilities for wounded soldiers

UNP to ask govt. to give better facilities for wounded soldiers

By Kesara Abeywardena
The UNP yesterday decided to tell the government to seek more funds from parliament if necessary to provide better medical facilities for wounded soldiers, party sources said.

At a meeting of the party’s parliamentary group and the working committee, the members said that according to their information the army hospital was in need of medical equipment amounting to Rs.56 million.

Therefore the party decided to request the Deputy Minister of Finance G. L. Peiris to move a supplementary estimate in parliament, to enable more funds to be allocated for medical supplies. If such a proposal is made the UNP will support it, the sources said. Otherwise, the party will request to cancel the importation of bullet proof luxury vehicles for Ministers and utilise that money to upgrade the army hospital.

The members had also pointed out that the hospitals where the wounded soldiers were treated did not appear to have adequate facilities.

At the meeting presided by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe it had also been resolved to launch a fund to provide the army with vital medical needs that are lacking in the army hospital at present. Wickremesinghe had said that during his visit to the army hospital on Wednesday it was revealed that the army was in need of some vital medical equipment and medicine.

The UNP had also appointed two committees to look into the needs of the army and to analyse the war effort and the military debacles. The first committee will be chaired by MP Anura Bandaranaike and the second committee will be headed by party General Secretary Gamini Atukorale.

Those who spoke at the meeting included Gamini Lokuge, H. G. P. Nelson, Karunasena Kodituwakku, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Mano Wijeratne, Lakshman Seneviratne and A. H. M. Azwer. They had focused on the capture of Elephant Pass by the LTTE.

MP Karunasena Kodituwakku told the meeting that the debacle was a strong blow to the national pride and the morale of the military. He asked the UNP to press the government to depoliticise the military and appoint able officers to plan and implement war strategies. He also said that people from all segments of society were feeling this defeat as a national disaster.

Filaria treatment campaign launched today

By Himangi Jayasundere
A one-day treatment campaign for filaria will be launched today in three provinces in the country, Provincial Director of Health Services, Western Province, Dr. U. Indrasiri said. He said that the programme will be held in the Western, North Western and Southern provinces from April 28-30. Residents are required to obtain tablets for the one-day treatment from their nearest centre. Dr. Indrasiri told a press briefing that centres to distribute the tablets, will be set up in schools, hospitals and community centres in each area. Medical Officers of Health (MOH), midwives and other staff are expected to inform residents of their relevant centres. Health officials have also put up posters and will announce the chosen centres through public address systems. Each centre is expected to provide treatment for about 250 people. This is the second round of a five year programme to eradicate filaria from Sri Lanka organised by the Health Ministry, Western Province. It was first conducted in November last year and will be conducted every six months. Dr. Indrasiri said that those who had missed the one day treatment in its first round could nevertheless join the programme in its second round, as there would be no ill effects.

According to him this system has been used in countries like Japan and China successfully.

Dr. Lakshmi de Silva, Senior Epidemiologist of the Western Province Health Department, said that earlier they were attempting to combat the mosquito that was carrying the germ from one person to another but were now attempting to eradicate the germ, microfilaria from the body. The male and female adult filaria worms live in the lymphatic system. The larvae or the offspring of the adult worm known as microfilaria live in the lungs and come into the blood stream in the night. Since mosquitoes also attack people in the night they carry the germ from one person to another. "This is why it is important that everybody takes the treatment at the same time" Dr. de Silva said, because the germ from an untreated person can enter a treated person once again. Due to the difficulty of addressing the entire country at the same time, they have chosen to work on a provincial basis, starting along the coastal areas.

Although most people do not show signs of having filaria, they have the germ in their body and therefore it is necessary to take this treatment, she said. Occasional swelling of the skin and coughing at night are also caused by this germ Dr. de Silva said. According to her the tablet will only destroy the offspring and not the adult worms themselves. The life span of the male worm is about 2-5 years while the female lives 5-30 years. Through the five year programme they hope to eradicate the male worm completely, which will result in the breeding process coming to an end.

Air Navigation Act to be updated

By Irosha Weththasingha
The 50-year-old Air Navigation Act will be further amended to keep up with the modern requirements in the fast growing field of Civil Aviation, Director General of Civil Aviation Mr. Lal Liyanarachchi said yesterday.

The Air Navigation Act, enacted in 1950, gives authority to the department to conduct regulatory work and to constantly monitor the field of aviation to maintain minimum standards required by the State and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). It was last amended in 1992.

"There are lots of shortcomings in the Air Navigation Act in the current context and the Department is working to draft a new Civil Aviation Act to minimise these shortcomings," Mr. Liyanarachchi said.

He said the new amendments would focus on how to improve the quality of the staff. "The aviation industry, being a growing and a very global industry, needs well qualified staff to keep up with the changing trends". He said the traditional British type Aviation Department of Sri Lanka lacks adequate expert staff. To remedy this a project was started with three officers of ICAO in ’98 to train the local staff. "Once these officers leave Sri Lanka, the local staff would continue this training project," he said.

The Director said that it is the responsibility of the State to update the safety standards and keep abreast with developments in the rest of the world. "To do this the laws must be flexible and the new act would make laws flexible and easy to follow".

He said that economists and some government officials do not still understand the importance of the field of civil aviation. "Earlier the Civil Aviation Department used to be under the Defence Ministry. It was only after this government came to power that a separate Ministry was set-up," he said adding that without an efficient aviation service the open economy and any foreign investments would not be possible.

Military campaign against terrorists to continue

Acting Defence Minister General Anuruddha Ratwatte told the cabinet meeting held last Wednesday that the military campaign against the terrorists is being continued under the complete control of the three armed forces commanders backed by appropriate political leadership.

A press release from the Information Department said:

"Minister of Irrigation and Power and Acting Minister of Defence General Anuruddha Ratwatte, at the Cabinet meeting that was held on Wednesday (26) explained the present security situation in the country. He traced the developments in the North since the capture of Jaffna up to the recent setback at Elephant Pass. He said that the military effort is being continued under the complete control of the Commanders of the three armed forces backed by appropriate political leadership. He also stated that adequate arrangements are being made in respect of those who are fighting; the injured and also for funerals of those who have fallen in the battlefield.

Several Ministers joined in the discussion and It was agreed that special attention should be given to media coverage on the developments in the war-front with the twin objective of providing correct information to the general public and refuting false propaganda by interested parties.

Cabinet of Ministers also unanimously decided that each member of the Cabinet would donate one (01) month’s salary to the Defence Fund".

Parties prepare for May Day rallies

By Franklin R. Satyapalan
While the SLFP has decided not to participate in the May Day demonstration on Monday following the debacle at Elephant Pass, the other constituent parties of the PA and the opposition parties said their trade unions would observe May Day with demonstrations as in previous years.

SLFP sources said that members of the party and its trade unions would nevertheless participate in the PA rally at the Town Hall grounds.

"Permanent peace through a political solution" will be the main theme at the PA meeting at Town Hall which is expected to be presided by a worker, party sources said.

The UNP will hold its May Day rally and demonstration at Nuwara Eliya said its general secretary Gamini Atukorale MP.

The meeting would be presided over by leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and the demonstration will commence in front of the Racecourse at 1 p.m. and proceed to the town for the rally at 2 p.m.

The main theme of the UNP this year would be the security situation in the country and the rising cost of living and the hardship faced by the people. The UNP has cancelled the planned musical show.

The four left parties partners of the PA, the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), the Communist Party (CP), the Desha Vimukthi Janatha Pakshaya (DVJP) and the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party (SLMP) will hold their May Day demonstration commencing at Dr. N. M. Perera Mawatha at 1 p.m. said General Secretary of the CP Mr. Raja Collure yesterday.

The procession will proceed to Borella Junction along Dr. N. M. Perera Mawatha, Maradana Road, Symonds Road, Deans Road, and C. W. W. Kannangara Mawatha to the venue of the PA’s rally at the Town Hall grounds and participate in the rally. The Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) led by Mr. Dinesh Gunawardena will hold their May Day rally and demonstration in Seethawakapura in Avissawella.

The demonstration will commence at Puwakpitiya at 1 p.m. and proceed along High Level Road to Seethavakapura in Avissawella for a rally at 3 p.m.

The theme of this year’s rally would be "to protect the sovereignty and integrity of Sri Lanka". The People’s Liberation Front (JVP) will hold its Red May Day rally commencing with a demonstration from Cooray Playground at Wellawatte at 11 a.m. and proceeding to the main rally at BRC Grounds in Havelock town. The rally will commence at 3 p.m. said Propaganda Secretary and Western Provincial Councillor Wimal Weerawanse.

He said that several left parties and progressive fronts from many parts of the world including those from Japan, Austria and Italy etc. will be also sending their representatives for this year’s Red May Day rally of the JVP.

The General Secretary of the Ceylon Estate Staff Union Mr. S. Arulnandy said that they had decided to devote this year’s May Day to religious observances in place of the customary rally and meeting.

The members from tea, rubber and coconut plantation areas around the country will gather at Kalutara clad in white instead of the traditional red and walk to the Kalutara Bodhi for a pooja commencing at 10 a.m. and proceed thereafter to a Hindu Temple for a pooja followed by a service at a church.

This year’s special arrangements is to invoke blessings and merit on the workers and their families.

1200 SLT lines out of order

Due to a cable breakdown in the Galle Exchange, 1200 telephone lines have gone out of order. Customers in Akmeemana, Ganegoda, Labuduwa, Karapitya, Wackwella Road, Kithulampitiya, Dangedera, Ambalangoda have been affected.

Sri Lanka Telecom Engineering staff is working to restore the service as soon as possible, Sri Lanka Telecom said yesterday.

Vietnam unfazed over war anniversary security

HO CHI MINH CITY, April 27 (Reuters) - Vietnam will not put extra security personnel on the streets of the former Saigon this weekend for the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, a senior official said on Thursday.

Le Thanh Hai, vice chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, said that while it was normal for "ill-willed and unfriendly elements" to try to spoil such events, the communist authorities were unfazed.

However, he would not comment on reports that anti-communist overseas Vietnamese groups might try to disrupt the victory celebrations in the bustling metropolis, renamed Ho Chi Minh City after the decade-long conflict.

"You will not see additional police or armed forces deployed. The situation will remain normal," Hai told a news conference at the French-colonial era city hall.

The United States in March advised Americans to be on alert ahead of the anniversary, citing reports of possible attacks on foreign businesses. The Japanese embassy in Hanoi has also told travellers to exercise caution.

A city official told Reuters last week that safety was one reason behind a decision to move military parades scheduled for Sunday morning off the streets and into the grounds of the former South Vietnamese presidential palace.

But Hai denied this, saying the reason was because of the palace’s historical significance — it is now called the Reunification Palace — and also to save money.

Entry on Sunday will be by invitation only, and barricades blocking access to the area will go up after midnight on Saturday.

Sihala Urumaya party president at official launching
‘We do what we say and say what we mean’

by Kesara Abeywardena
The newly formed political party Sihala Urumaya was officially launched in the presence of a large gathering and marked with national pride and dignity at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute auditorium, yesterday.

The "sannasa" bearing the official announcement of the political party was brought to the assembly room by a young girl and a boy dressed in national dress accompanied by the intonation of ‘magul bera’. The ‘sannasa’ proclaimed the new political party Sihala Urumaya as dedicated to the national cause and to protect the generations beginning with Ravana who had been inhabiting this island while taking the country to the future.

The large gathering present included eminent persons from all walks of life and ages. The auditorium was packed and a section of the crowd was seated outside following the proceedings of the simple ceremony through a video projection, while some were standing inside.

President of Sihala Urumaya leading lawyer S. L. Gunasekera in a moving speech said that the moment was not a happy one for him as a large number of sons of the soil who had laid down their lives for the country in a war fought on a political agenda, were going their last journey. He said that they would have never wanted to form a political party of this nature if the main political parties and the leaders had worked for the country at large and took genuine steps to eradicate the terrorist menace.

"The two main parties have betrayed the Sinhalese and all other communities in the country. They are still trying to give a part of this country to Prabhakaran after all that has happened," he said. He charged President Kumaratunga and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to leave their positions and appoint capable people to those places and enjoy more foreign trips and boat rides to their pleasure.

Addressing the minorities he said they would be much more secure with them than any other political party since they were for equality and for developing the country according to a national policy. "We do what we say and say what we mean," he said.

Quoting from the famous Gettysburg address of Abraham Lincoln he said that they were committed to the cause of they who had laid their lives so that the "nation might live." To a captivated crowd he said that they were for democracy and establishing a democratic state where all communities would live in harmony. "We believe that this country is the motherland of all communities. We are against carving an exclusive imaginary homeland only for one ethnic group in a part of this country," he said.

Tilak Karunaratne, Secretary General of Sihala Urumaya said that he would resign from Parliament on May 9 — the next sitting day — and work full-time for the victory of the new party which has a national vision lacking in the main parties. He charged the foreign funded NGOs and the government ministers for the military tragedies as they have been responsible in bringing down the morale of the army.

He urged the government to immediately stop sending food and medicine to LTTE held areas as they are not been given to the innocent civilians but used by the LTTE. "We must be the only country in the world which feeds its own enemy," he said.

Champika Ranawaka, National Organiser of Sihala Urumaya said that the government had betrayed soldiers who had laid down their lives to capture Jaffna and Wanni in the Jayasikuru operation. "If the racism of Prabhakaran continues this country would be taken over by him very quickly and the two main parties just don’t care," he said.

The Central Committee of Sihala Urumaya consists of

President: S. L. Gunasekera

General Secretary: Thilak Karunaratne

National Organiser: Patali Champika Ranawake

Treasurer: Dr. Neville Kanakaratne

Deputy Presidents: Prof. C. M. Madduma Bandara, Prof. A. D. V. de S. Indraratna, Maj. Gen. Thilak Paranagama. Lt. Col. Anil Amarasekera

Deputy Secretaries: Dr. Piyasena Dissanayake, Mrs. Anuradha Yahampath

Deputy Treasurer: Anil Jayawardena

Committee Members: Chula de Silva - PC, Gamini Perera, Dr. Mrs. Ranjani Ratnapala, Kamal Deshapriya, Malinga H. Guneratne, Sujith Akkarawaththa

The official proclamation of Sihala Urumaya reads as follows:

Let us build the Sihala Urumaya

The Sinhalese who built the immeasurably valuable civilization of Sri Lanka, our beloved motherland is plunged today tragically into despair, desperation and marginalisation.

On the one hand the Tamil expansionist movement has reached the highest point of its campaign for the conquest of the whole of Sri Lanka. After the failure of the strong endeavours made by the Ponnambalam brothers to take over the governance of the whole country. G. G. Ponnambalam devised the strategy of demanding an unequal share of state power for the small Tamil minority. Subsequently S. J. V. Chelvanayakam launched his campaign for an exclusive separate Tamil State. After distorting the history of this country, the Tamil racists set out to militarily gain their aim by the power of the bullet.

Thanks to the short-sighted unpatriotic policies of our previous rulers such as the UNP and SLFP at this moment we are faced with the challenge of the most awesome politico-military gains of the Tamil racist terrorism.

At this critical moment in our history the PA-UNP and the leftists are kneeling in servile abjection before the terrorists and their foreign Godfathers to betray our beloved motherland and its sacred soil to the terrorists.

This grave situation has given rise to the birth of Sihala Urumaya. Our aim is to restore to the Sinhala people their lost right to live in any part of the country and to carry on a livelihood, be free from fear and terrorism. One of our most estimable aims is to bring back to the Sinhalese justice, equal treatment and their rightful place in this country’s polity and society.

We are dedicated to the supreme purpose of wiping out terrorism from this country and establishing a society, in which all citizens have equal rights, equal freedom irrespective of their community, religion and status in society. We take the solemn vow this day to protect the territorial integrity, unitary status and sovereignty of this country and its democratic institutions.

Over the past five decades under the rulership of the two main political parties, the economy and environment of this country have been destroyed. Our aim is to construct a modernized national economy giving due consideration to principles which were the foundation of our ancient heritage.

We undertake to protect the environment, its rich and varied bio-diversity, our natural resources and utilize those resources wisely in a sustainable manner.

We see around us an alarming deterioration of the values we have inherited from thousands of years of civilization. It is our duty to restore to our people particularly the young an appreciation and practice of those value systems. What we seek is both a revival and a renaissance in our society.

Despite the process of globalization, many nations Such as India are seeking their cultural roots. We too must join that momentum if our country is to survive progress and flourish in this present atmosphere of globalization.

We call upon the Sinhalese who have lost their way in a dark tunnel of divisive politics, to unite and join us in this sacred cause.

This is the liberation struggle of the Sinhalese.

Join us; trust us to build a Sinhala Nation with the true sons of Sri Lanka.

SLFP calls off May Day demo

by Walter Nanayakkara
Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the main political party in the ruling People’s Alliance will not take part in the May Day demonstration of the Alliance, this time.

SLFP General Secretary, Dharmasiri Senanyake has informed party organisations in Colombo District and trade unions affiliated to the party that the decision has been taken due to the security situation of the country.

Members of Colombo District organisations of the People’s Alliance and trade unions controlled by the Alliance parties were earlierl schedueld to converge at Campbell Park, Borella and march in demonstration to the Colombo Town Hall Grounds, where the rally takes place.

SLFP political organisations will not take part in the demonstration following the party decision but they will make their presence at the Town Hall ground along with party workers of the other member organisations of the ruling People’s Alliance.

PA sources said there would be no party big wigs at this year’s May Day rally of the ruling coalition unlike in the previous years.

Town hall grounds, Colombo was the bloody scene of an attempt to asassinate President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga by the LTTE, minutes after she addressed the last Presidential election meeting on December 18, last year.

In the outstations the organisations of the ruling People’s Alliance celebrate May Day, on a religious note, remembrance services on behalf of the soldiers killed in the latest engagements with the LTTE in the North, Bodhi Poojas, blood donation campaigns etc.

Members of the Trade Unions of the People’s Alliance will also donate a days pay to the War Heroes Fund, to provide relief to the injured soldiers and the bereaved families, Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Alavi Mowlana states.

Army chief says he never wanted censorship

Army Commander Lieutenant General Srilal Weerasooriya Monday night said that he never asked for a censorship on war reporting.

Replying a question, raised by a journalist at the media briefing held at the army headquarters to explain the security situation in the north, the army chief said that he never requested for a censorship. Asked to comment on claims that the censorship was imposed to prevent the media from leaking information to the enemy and demoralising the forces, the armed forces spokesman Brigadier Palitha Fernando said the army has a way of keeping the troops informed. "They get our internal newspaper," he said adding that copies are made available to every unit.

Two students re-remanded in ragging case

Kandy Corr:
Two senior students held by the Peradeniya police in connection with recent incidents of ragging freshers at the Peradeniya University were re-remanded till July 4 by the Kandy Chief Magistrate Leon Seneviratne.

The two suspects Wijeratne Banda and K. W. G. Upali from Minigamuwa in Galagedara and Hingurakgoda respectively were earlier on remand till April 25.

They were produced in court by remand prison officials in Kandy and Sgt. B. M. Navaratne moved that they be further remanded as eleven more suspects in the case were evading arrest.

The two suspects on remand have been charged under the Anti-Ragging Act No. 20 of 1998 Sgt. Navaratne told court.

Further investigations are being conducted by a team of police personnel led by SI A. L. M. Bandara of the Peradeniya police.

‘LTTE captured only one artillery piece’

by Shamindra Ferdinando
Terrorists last week captured a Chinese built 152 mm artillery piece from troops withdrawing from the Elephant Pass base, military sources said.

Army Commander Lieutenant General Srilal Weerasooriya Monday night said that one artillery piece was lost to the enemy. Addressing a press conference at his headquarters, the army chief denied LTTE claims that several artillery pieces, heavy mortars, armoured fighting vehicles and other equipment were captured by terrorists.

"We lost only one artillery piece," he said.

Military sources said that troops engaged in transporting three artillery pieces out of the Elephant Pass-Iyakachchi base complex were attacked. During the confrontation terrorists seized one 152 mm which has a 15 km range.

The sources said that the captured gun was fired on the same day.

However, troops managed to take the remaining two guns to safety.

Lieutenant General Weerasooriya said armaments and heavy equipment which could not be moved were made unserviceable. Among the items destroyed were two 152 mm and 122 mm guns, he told the briefing.

Terrorists had captured a number of artillery pieces and mortars from security forces over the past few years.

Meanwhile, terrorists continue to fire mortars at troops engaged in consolidating their new positions a few kms Northwest of Elephant Pass, a senior military officer said last night.

However, there had been no serious fighting since troops completed their withdrawal from Elephant Pass last Saturday [22].

The military said that troops in Point Pedro remain on alert to face possible attacks in the area. Terrorists control Vadamarachchy east since they moved in late last month as part of their ongoing offensive aimed at wresting control, of the peninsula the sources said.

Child abduction, murder and ransom case
Defence Counsel threatened with death

By V. Varathasuntharam
Defence Counsel Jaliya Samarasinghe appearing for the teen age accused in the 8-year-old child Sadeepa abduction and murder case told court that he received telephone calls and anonymous letters threatening him with his life for defending the accused, for performing a professional duty.

Mr. Samarasinghe brought this matter to the notice of the Trial at Bar hearing the eight year old boy Sadeepa Luxan, kidnap, abduction, murder and ransom case.

The Trial at Bar comprises High Court Judges Chandradasa Nanayakkara (Chairman), Andrew Somawanse and Chandra Ekanayaka.

Mr. Samarasinghe addressing the Trial at Bar told that an accused is presumed innocent until found guilty by Court. It was a sacred duty of a counsel to appear for his client, look after the interest of his client and to defend him. It was in fact a professional conduct.

He continued that an accused had a right to be defended either by himself or through a counsel at a public and fair trial. That right should be jealously guarded. It would be a sorry state of affairs if there ever was an erosion into that sacred right.

The Bench directed the defence counsel to make a complaint to the CID and told that the CID would investigate fully into that matter.

In this case teenager Amila Nuan is indicted with abduction of eight year old Sadeepa Luxan from the custody of his father, murder and with obtaining a ransom at Aluthgama on October 10, 1999.

Senior State Counsel Jayantha Jayasuriya with State Counsel Prashanthi Mahindaratne appeared for the prosecution.

Jaliya Samarasinghe appeared for the accused.

Ratnasiri cancels functions

Minister of Public Administration, Home Affairs and Plantation Industries and the Leader of the House, Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka directed all departments, corporations under his ministry not to hold any celebrations or ceremonies while the government troops are engaged in a fight against terrorists.

The minister has stated that the training programmes, workshops, seminars and opening of institutions can be conducted without celebrations. He has ordered the secretaries of the Ministries of Public Administration and Home Affairs and Plantation Industries to avoid celebrations in all the occasions.

Dissolve all unofficial detention camps, says UNHRC

by Saman Indrajith
The United Nations Human Rights Commission (UN-HRC) at its 56th Session now being held at Geneva stated all unofficial places of detention maintained by the paramilitary organisations such as PLOTE and TELO should be dissolved, a participant of the session said.

The UNHRC stated that the Sri Lankan Government has not implemented any of UNHRC’s nine recommendations to prevent enforced disappearances, or to bring the country to internationally accepted standards of human rights, he said.

The President of the Organisation of Parents and Family Members of the Disappeared (OPF-MD), Chandra Peiris, who participated in UNHRC’s 56th Session at Geneva and returned at the end of human rights part of the session told "The Island" yesterday that UNHRC stated that Sri Lankan law enforcement bodies seemed not to know the safeguards for the prevention of arbitrary arrests and often disregarded in practice.

He said that UNHRC in its ‘Civil & Political Rights including Questions of Disappearances and Summary Executions: Report of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disapp-earances; Addendum: Report on visit to Sri Lanka by a member of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disapp-earances’ clearly states that the government has not maintained internationally accepted standards of human rights.

The UNHRC working group which had sent its member to Sri Lanka last October had met representatives of OPFMD, relatives of disappeared persons and law enforcement bodies.

Chandra Peiris said that he had raised the issue at the UNHRC session that no action had been taken by this government as promised by the working group member before he left the country last October.

"In reply the UNHRC authorities said that they had already addressed nine recommendations to the Sri Lankan government. But no action had been taken yet, Peiris said.

The report by the working group says:

The government should establish an independent body with the task of investigating all cases of disappearances occurred since 1995 and identifying the perpetrators.

The Government should speed up its efforts to bring the perpetrators of enforced disappearances, whether committed under the former or the present government, to justice. The Attorney-General or another independent authority should be empowered to investigate and indict suspected perpetrators of enforced disappearances irrespective of the outcome of investigations by the police.

The act of enforced disappearances should be made an independent offence under the criminal law of Sri Lanka punishable by appropriate penalties as stipulated in Article 4 of the United Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappea-rances.

The Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Emergency Regul-ations currently in force should be abolished or otherwise brought into line with internationally accepted standards of personal liberty, due process of law and humane treatment of prisoners.

Any person deprived of liberty should be held only in an officially recognised place of detention as stipulated in article 10 (1) of the declaration. All unofficial places of detention, in particular those established by paramilitary organisations fighting alongside the security forces, such as PLOTE and TELO, should immediately be dissolved;

The Government should set up a central register of detainees as provided for in Article 10 (3) of the declaration. Since the Human Rights Commission needs to be informed immediately of every arrest and detention under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Emergency Regulations, such a central computerised register of detainees might be established at its headquarters. Such a solution would, however, require a substantial increase in the powers and resources of the commission.

All families of disappeared persons should receive the same amount of compensation. The differentiation between public civil servants and others seem discriminatory and should, therefore, be abolished. Compensation should not be made dependent on the confirmation as "proven" by a Commission of Inquiry. In addition to these compensations, the families of the disappeared persons should be supported, according to their needs, by other means, such as low interest loan schemes or scholarships for the children.

The procedure for issuing death-certificates in cases of disappearances should be applied in an equal and non-discriminatory manner to all families.

The prohibition of enforced disappearances should be included as a fundamental right in the Constitution of Sri Lanka to which the remedy of a direct human rights complaint to the Supreme Court under Article 13 of the Constitution is applied irrespective of the fact whether the disappeared person is presumed to be alive or dead.

Three caught for sending Tamils abroad on forged documents

by Wimalkeerthi - Negombo
Two authorised officers of the Immigration and Emigration De-partment and a investigations officer of Sri Lankan Airlines produced before Negombo Magistrate and Additional District Judge Saman Wickramarachchi by the Criminal Investigations De-partment under the Prevention of Terrorism Act on charges of aiding and abetting Tamil nationals to migrate using Sri Lankan names to collect funds for the LTTE organisation have been ordered to be remanded indefinitely.

The suspects were M. Wimal Fernando of Francisco Place, Moratumulla, V. Saman Mahi Bandara of Alwis Place, Attidiya and Mohamed Sheefan Suwaheer of St. Lasarus Road, Negombo.

These suspects had been arrested after investigation carried out by the Criminal Investig-ations Department following the arrest of a foreign employment agency owner, Anura Abeywardane residing at Raddolugama housing scheme, Seeduwa. The Criminal Investig-ations Department also had recovered several forged documents and rubber seals pertaining to foreign employment in possession of this respect.

These suspects had aided and abetted fourteen Tamil nationals to go abroad using their official seals on forged foreign travel documents, police said.

Of these 14 Tamil nationals six had been nabbed at Katunayake Bandar-anaike airport while the other 8 at Frankfurt Airport, Germany, Criminal Investigations De-partment, officials told the Courts.

Ten more suspects also had been arrested in connection with these underhand deals.