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Mass poster campaign launched against commemoration of enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka.

Written By NAFSO on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 9:08:00 AM

Seeduwa, in the front of the monument for the victims of enforced disappearances. On this day, parents, brothers, sisters, and other relatives and friends of the disappeared person gather at the monument, and several events are held to commemorate the loss of their loved ones.

These events include the placing of flowers before the wall where the photographs of over 600 disappeared persons are exhibited. It has always been a very emotional moment when mothers, fathers, relatives, and friends place flowers and say their prayers before the images of their loved ones. Other events held are religious ceremonies conducted by Buddhist, Christian, and Muslim clergy, according to the respective religious traditions of those disappeared. In line with local traditiondhana (alms) are offered to a number of Buddhist monks from nearby temples.

Different pieces ofaudio-video footage are shown to remember the tragedy faced by these disappeared persons. Many speakers attend the events to express their solidarity with the families of the disappeared and to support their call for investigations and justice regarding these disappearances. The monument for the disappeared persons was erected in the year 2000. This commemoration event has been held continuously during the last 14 years, receiving considerable coverage in the media.

Among the persons who have spoken at this commemoration in the past is incumbent President MahindaRajapaksa, who has supported the event and promised support for demand for justice by the families of the disappeared. Other guests have included many well-known politicians from all spectrums of political life in Sri Lanka, as well as intellectuals and persons committed to the pursuit of human rights in Sri Lanka. Among the guests for this year's commemoration is Victor Ivan a well-known journalist, and an Editor of the highly respected newspaper Ravaya.

While the event is being advertised, a poster has been exhibited in Negombo, Colombo, and many other parts of the country, attacking the commemoration as a work of "dollar crows". These posters have photographs of Victor Ivan, Brito Fernando (who has been a founder member of the families of the disappeared and a spokesman for this cause), Phillip Dissanayake (also a founder member of the group), and five other persons who have appeared as guests at previous commemorations or have actively supported this commemoration.

This poster does not carry the names of those responsible for itscreation and publication. Therefore, under Sri Lanka's law this is an illegal poster. However, the law enforcement authorities have allowed the posters to be exhibited and have not taken any action against persons who are responsible for the publication and pasting of these illegal posters.

On behalf of the families of the disappeared persons, complaints have been made to the Inspector General of Police and also to all the nearby police stations, to investigate the matter and provide protection for the holding of this commemoration. The organizers also fear that those responsible for the publication of this illegal poster have done so with the purpose of disrupting the commemoration. They fear that there maybe attempts to disrupt the commemorative activities, which are set to take place throughout the day on 27thOctober 2014, i.e. today.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) condemns this shameful attempt to discredit and disrupt a commemorative meeting by the families who have suffered due to enforced disappearances of their family members. Under international law, causing of enforced disappearances is a heinous crime.

Regarding such disappearances, which have taken place in the South as well as the North and East of the country, it is the government security forces that have been perceived as the perpetrators. The government has publicly undertaken the responsibility of investigating the enforced disappearances and has also appointed various commissions for this purpose. However, it is a secret agency, either directly controlled by the Ministry of Defense or working under its patronage that is likely to have conducted this massive pasting of the posters against those promoting the commemoration on behalf of the families of the disappeared.

The AHRC asks everyone to intervene to protect the rights of citizens to express their sympathies and condolences to those who have been unjustly and illegally destroyed by way of enforced disappearances. If, even the basic right to mourn for the loss of their loved ones is attacked, then there can hardly be any space for the protection of the freedom of expression of the people.

This attack, by way of publicly exhibiting the posters of those concerned with the plight of their fellow men and women and labeling them as "dollar crows", needs to be condemned as a barbaric attack. Attacking the commemoration of the dead is an attack on civilization itself.

While calling upon the government to investigate and take legal action against those responsible for the illegal posters, the AHRC also urges the government to protect this commemorative meeting.

The AHRC also wishes to bring this attack to the attention of all international agencies, including all governments, and all of them are urged to intervene at this stage so that such actions will not be repeated and the democratic rights of the people will be respected and protected by the government.

Source:Asian Human Right Commission 

"PRATHIBA" Showing Dancing Competition

Written By NAFSO on Friday, October 24, 2014 | 4:59:00 PM

The folk dancing competition that  organize to protect and promote the traditional dances which escape gradually from the Sri Lankan community as well as building up the welfare  fund of Sri Vimukthi Fisherwomen Organization in Negombo.

Objectives –
1.      Protecting and promoting the traditional folk dances which are escaping from the society by endowing to the future generations
2.      Building up a sensitive and cultured  filial generation
3.      Continuing  the traditional dances
4.      Developing  the skills of young generation
5.      Developing a  welfare fund of Sri Vimukthi Fisherwomen Organization
We would like invite to dancing groups of your Sunday school, school or children society participate to the dancing competition which is organized on above objectives at 3.30pm on 20th of December 2014 at the Port Playground in Negombo.

Conditions of the competition-
v  It should be a creative folk dance according to our industries or sectors  ( Ex- Fisheries, Farming, Labour, Mine)
v  Music should be supplied by yourself
v  The  dance should be limited within 5-7  minutes
v  Dancers should be limited within 10-14
v  Dancer’s age should be limited within 12-18 years
v  Only children who participate to the dance, 3 persons who take the  responsibility for the children, relevant singers and music suppliers are allowed to enter with free pass. Others are not allowed to enter without tickets. They must buy tickets by paying 100 rupees.
v  Discipline  of the participants is highly concerned
v  Contacts                                                                                                               

       Sri Vimukthi Office 0315673780,  Vincent Fernando 0779019484, Milina kumari  07283038,  k. Subashini 0721383334 

Other conditions-
·  Female and male are allowed to dance on the same dancing theme
·  Dances should be limited within 10-14( Maximum 14, Minimum 10)
·  Starting time , 03.30pm
·  Dancers should wear a suitable dress
·  Singers and music suppliers should be limited within 8
·  Participants of dances  should present their identity card or birth certificate  if necessary
·  Decision of the judgment board is the final decision
·  Competitors in the Negombo division are only permitted to participate to the competition.
·  Closing Date of Applying 2014/10/30
·  The Place Of Handin Over The Application Sri Vimukthi Office
(No - 115 St, Mary’s Road Negombo)

Prizes for the winners - 
First prize-                                                  25,000.00 Rupees
Second prize -                                            15,000.00 Rupees
Third prize-                                               10,000.00 Rupees

Note- A certificate is given every participant
The points to give marks on the judgment
1.      Creativity
2.      Relevant of the dance on the theme
3.      Time management
4.      Using instruments for the dance
5.      Background and make-up
6.      Playing, singing and music
7.      Skill

8.      Comply to the conditions

    Donations are highly welcome by the Sri Vimukthi Fisherwomen Organization for the success of the program

Fisheries Minister Says, "I Do not Approve the Assault of Protesters"

Written By NAFSO on Thursday, October 23, 2014 | 5:47:00 PM

The assault with stones  to the protesters  who were conducted protest in front of fisheries ministry on 20th Oct asking for several demands including Stop Chinese vessels which are use Sri Lankan Flag and fish in EEZ and international waters near Sri lanka.
According to the protesters the stoning have injured 3 persons.    
The protestes also charged that a group of thugs led by Minister Rajitha Senarathne stonned them while Minister staying inside the premises of fisheries Ministry. 

3 days later minister have spoken on the issue that saying "I do not approve the assault of protesters"   

Northern Fishermen Seek Tougher Action

Fishermen leaders of Northern Sri Lanka have sought legal action to deter Indian fishermen from illegal fishing in Sri Lankan waters, The Hindu newspaperREPORTED.
They said Indian fishermen — apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy for fishing illegally in Sri Lankan waters — were handed over to the police or the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and produced before the nearest magistrate court. They were subsequently charged under Section 45 of the Immigration and Emigration Act, and remanded for illegally entering Sri Lanka without a visa, and not for fishing illegally, they said in an October 16 petition.
“We appreciate the court’s decision to release the fishermen while detaining their trawlers. This has brought down the number of Indian trawlers coming to our waters, but appropriate legal provisions have to be used,” said Mohamed Alam, of the Mannar District Fishermen’s Cooperative Society Union, who along with Anthony Emiliyanpillai, president of the Fishermen’s Cooperative Society Union, petitioned the Attorney-General’s office.
They said a long-term solution to the persistent issue of Indian trawlers allegedly poaching in Sri Lankan waters and engaging in bottom trawling would REQUIRE a more focused legal approach. They urged the courts to use specific provisions of the Sri Lanka’s Fisheries (Regulation of Foreign Fishing Boats) Act of 1979.
Fishermen in the Tamil-majority Northern Province are among the worst hit by the Indian trawlers that allegedly fish illegally along their coast.
The fisheries conflict across the Palk Bay has been a major challenge before the two countries, with talks at various levels having failed to yield a solution.
Currently, 24 Indian fishermen and 76 trawlers are in Sri Lankan custody.

Indian Boats Will Not Be Returned

The Ministry of Aquatic Resources and Fisheries  will not consider returning the boats of the Indian fisherman that were taken in to custody by the Sri Lankan navy  while poaching in Sri Lankan seas.
Minister of Aquatic Resources and Fisheries Rajitha Senaratne told The Sunday Leader that these boats were taken into the custody while they were engaged in fishing illegally in the Sri Lankan seas using illegal methods of fishing. “The Indian government has not made a request for the release of the boats, they only approached us to ensure the release of the Indian fishermen who were arrested while poaching in the Northern sea area,” he added.
He further said that the boats would not be released under any circumstances.
When asked what the government expect to do with the boats, Minister Senaratne said that they would continue to keep them in their custody. “There is no purpose in auctioning the boats.
Bottom trawling is illegal in Sri Lanka and those boats won’t serve any purpose for the fishermen here,” he added. Recently the new Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam sought the assistance of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene to secure the release of the boats of the Indian fishermen from Sri Lankan custody. (WK)
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