Main office of Vilithu,( Centre for Human Resource Development) a Tamil civil society organisation engaged in advocacy work was attacked and ransacked on the early hours of Tuesday 24th January 2012. The office was located at No 3, Torrington Avenue, Colombo 07 in the close proximity to Canadian High Commission, Embassies of the Netherlands, Sweden, and highly guarded Sri Lanka Broadcasting Cooperation.
NfR, Sri Lanka condemns this attack unreservedly.
Staff member of the Viluthu told NfR, Sri Lanka they do not have any enemies and they didn’t receive any threats before this incident. According the staff member it is clear that attackers were looking for information. Office files had been checked, and the pen drive of the Ms. Shanthi A Sachithanandam, chief executive officer of Viluthu was found out side the office. Police has expressed the opinion that this was an act of experienced group.
Informed sources told ‘NfR Sri Lanka’ that it is almost impossible for any group to engage in such an act without the knowledge of security establishments given the importance’s of the area the Viluthu office was located.
Last few weeks has seen heightened and serious attacks on media freedom activists, groups campaigning for justice for the disappearances and human rights organisations by government politicians and state media. Harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders and HR organisations by the government and state controlled media are on the increase. NfR express its fear that this orchestrated campaign of intimidation could be a harbinger of another round of suppression of people’s rights in Sri Lanka.
According to the Viluthu web site – http://www.viluthu.org – it aims to promote a culture of democracy by facilitating changes in legislations, policies and institutional culture. Viluthu has branch offices in Jaffna, Trincomalee, Puttalam and Batticaloa.
Condemning this dastardly act ‘NfR Sri Lanka’ expresses its solidarity with the organisation Viluthu. NfR demand that immediate and impartial investigation to be held and who ever behind this attack is brought before the law. NfR calls upon human rights organisations to be vigilant in the face of heightened attacks on Human Rights Defenders in Sri Lanka.