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Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action Bulletin on 11 January and expressed for the safety of Vinayagamoorthy Vijayarajah, arrested by members of the Sri Lankan army near the Hindu temple at Valaichenai, in the Batticaloa district in the island of Sri Lanka on 3 January and whose whereabouts remain unknown thereafter. The text of the Urgent Action Bulletin (UA 08/000 - PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 37/01/00) was as follows:
"Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of Vinayagamoorthy Vijayarajah, whose whereabouts remain unknown after soldiers arrested him on 3 January 2000.
He was seen being arrested by members of the Sri Lankan army near the Hindu temple at Valaichenai, in Batticaloa district, at around 10am. He had been cycling back to his home in Kannakipuram village after accompanying one of his relatives to Valaichenai Hindu College.
When his parents went to Valaichenai Harbour View army camp the next day, they were reportedly told that their son had been taken into custody and would be released after questioning. However, when they returned the following day the army denied that Vinayagamoorthy Vijayarajah had been arrested. Inquiries at several other camps in the area, and with army and police authorities, have had no success.
A member of parliament has raised concern about Vinayagamoorthy Vijayarajah's "disappearance" with the Committee against Undue Harassment and Arrest. The Committee was appointed by President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga in 1998 to investigate human right violations.
Large numbers of "disappearances" have been reported in Sri Lanka since the mid 1980s, many of them during years of fighting between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and government forces in the north and east of the country.
In 1999 Amnesty International recorded some 10 cases of "disappearance" in the country, including six in Batticaloa district. The United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances visited Sri Lanka in October 1999 to evaluate the government's progress in implementing its recommendations made after two previous visits in 1991 and 1992. The report of its visit is due to be submitted to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in March 2000.
Supporters of Amnesty International around the world are writing urgent appeals in response to the concerns described above. If you would like to join with them in this action or have any queries about the Urgent Action network or Amnesty International in general, please contact one of the following:
Ray Mitchell, [email protected] (UK) Scott Harrison, [email protected] (USA) Guido Gabriel, [email protected] (Germany) Marilyn McKim, [email protected] (Canada) [email protected] (Belgium) Anne Nolan, [email protected] (Ireland)