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Northern catholic clergy’s concerns, calls to UNHRC endorsed

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A group of catholic clergy, laymen, and laywomen has endorsed the concerns and calls made in a letter to the president and members of the UN Human Rights Council by 31 Catholic clergy from Northern Sri Lanka, including the Bishop of Mannar.

The group says in a statement that it also expresses grave concerns about intimidation and discrediting of the signatories of the initial letter and in particular the Bishop of Mannar, by media such as the Sunday Divaina, websites and even government’s coalition partners such as the Jathika Hela Urumaya and National Freedom Front by accusing the Bishop of aspiring to become Cardinal of Tamil Eelam and that he should be arrested and prosecuted.

Their statement says,

12th March 2012

To: The President and all members of the United Nations Human Rights Council

We the undersigned, endorse the concerns and calls made in the letter of 1st March 2012 to the President and Members of the UN Human Rights Council by 31 Catholic clergy from Northern Sri Lanka, including the Bishop of Mannar.

We also express our grave concerns about intimidation and discrediting of the signatories of the initial letter and in particular the Bishop of Mannar, by media such as the Sunday Divaina, websites and even government’s coalition partners such as the Jathika Hela Urumaya and National Freedom Front by accusing the Bishop of aspiring to become Cardinal of Tamil Eelam and that he should be arrested and prosecuted.

1. Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe
 2. Rev. Fr. M. Sathivel
 3. Rev. Dr. Jayasiri Peiris
 4. Rev. Fr. Jeyaraj Rasiah, sj
 5. Fr. S. Maria Anthony, s.j.
 6. Rev, Fr. Jeevaraj, sj
 7. Rev. Fr. Rohan Silva, OMI, Director, Centre for Society & Religion
 8. Rev. Fr. Oswald B. Firth, OMI
 9. Rev. Fr. M. Selvaratnam, OMI
 10. Rev. Fr. Joy Mariaratnam, CMF
 11. Rev. Fr. J. M. J. Jeyaseelan, CMF
 12. Rev. Fr. Anthony Fernando CMF
 13. Rev. Fr. Royestan Jeyaraj, CMF
 14. Rev. Fr. Rohan Dominic CMF
 15. Rev. Fr. Christy, CMF
 16. Rev. Fr. A. I. Bernard – Ex-Chairman, Justice & Peace Commission, Jaffna Diocese
 17. Rev. Fr. Nandana Saparamadu
 18. Rev. Fr. Sherad Jayawardena
 19. Rev. Fr. C. Leo
 20. Rev. Fr. Sarath Iddamalgoda
 21. Rev. Fr. Noel Dias
 22. Rev. Fr. Reid Shelton Fernando
 23. Rev. Fr. Terrence Fernando
 24. Rev. Elil Rajan
 25. Brother Lionel Peiris ssf
 26. Sr. Christine Fernando
 27. Sr. Helen Fernando, H.F.B., Colombo
 28. Sr. Samanthi, FMM
 29. Sr. Hilary, SCJM
 30. Sr. Jenita Ragal, SCJM
 31. Sr. Jeyam, SCJM
 32. Sr. N. Emmanuel, SCJM
 33. Ms. Marisa De Silva
 34. Ms. H.G. Gayathri Sewwandi
 35. Ms. Vishaka Dharmadasa
 36. Ms. Saroja Sivachandran
 37. Ms. Jeanne Samuel
 38. Mrs. Rachel Chandra Perera
 39. Ms. Maryanne Mendis
 40. Ms. Deanne Uyangoda
 41. Ms. Ronnate D. Asirwatham
 42. Ms. Sheila Richards
 43. Ms. Aloka Kumarage
 44. Ms. Melani Manel Perera – Christian Women Journalist
 45. Ms. Jovita Arulanantham
 46. Mrs. Juliana Arulanantham
 47. Ms. Geetha Lakmini
 48. Ms. Jayanthi Gunewardena
 49. Mr. K. S. Ratnavel, Attorney-at-Law
 50. Mr. Jayanta de S Wijeratne
 51. Mr. K. S. Jude Fernando, Teacher
 52. Mr. Nilshan Fonseka
 53. Mr. Mithsiri L S Dias
 54. Mr. Freddy Gamage- Editor, Meepura news paper
 55. Mr. K.J. Brito Fernando – Families of the Disappeared, Human Rights Activist
 56. Dr. Philip Setunga
 57. Mr. Alex Van Arkadie
 58. Mr. Herman Kumara
 59. Mr. Anushke Guneratne
 60. Mr. R.M.B Senanayake Retd C.C.S
 61. Mr. Britto Motha
 62. Mr. Ainslie Joseph – Convener, Christian Alliance for Social Action
 63. Mr. Ruki Fernando

The group maybe contacted through unhrc19@gmail.com

The letter by the 31 catholic clergy to the president and members of the UN Human Rights Council:

Bishop’s House
 Pattim
 Mannar
 Sri Lanka

1st March 2012

To: The President and all members of the United Nations Human Rights Council
 Dear Excellencies, UN Human Rights Council,

We are writing to you as a group of concerned Christian clergy in North Sri Lanka who have been directly affected by war and have been working to ensure rights of people in our region before, during and after the war, while being concerned and committed to broader issues of human rights, democratization and rule of law in Sri Lanka.

We have also been trying to monitor domestic and international developments in this regard and contribute constructively to such processes.

Although we are not privy to the official positions and documents of members of the Council in relation to actions contemplated related to Sri Lanka, we welcome that the UNHRC members appear to be taking some action towards protection of human rights in Sri Lanka, even though this comes bit too late, after massive loss of life and sufferings.

At least now, we urge the Council to act decisively in relation to Sri Lanka, to enable Sri Lankans to move towards genuine reconciliation.

Given the consistent denial of the Sri Lankan government about scale and nature of war time abuses as well as pre-war and post-war concerns, refusal to address these, and given also the seriousness of the allegations levelled against it as one of the parties to such abuses, we believe it is an independent international body that could best address concerns of truth seeking, accountability and reparations for victims in a way that victims, survivors and their families will have confidence. It is only by addressing these that we believe we can move
 towards genuine reconciliation.

The LLRC has quite rightly identified abuses by the LTTE and also come up with some positive recommendations that has potential for reconciliation. But it has failed to address critical issues of truth seeking and accountability, despite strong evidence and testimony before it.

The record of various domestic bodies whose recommendations successive governments have ignored, including the LLRC’s own interim recommendations issued more than a year ago and threats and intimidation of witnesses who gave testimony to the LLRC including a Christian Priest had made us lose confidence that our concerns will be addressed through LLRC.

In fact, the post LLRC track record of abducting human rights defenders in Jaffna, obstructing human rights day event in Jaffna, obstructing peaceful campaigns in the North, killing of a protesting fisherman in Chilaw, vicious hate campaigns against journalists and organizations critical of the government, singing of the national anthem in Sinhalese only and a host of such activities indicates the absolute disregard for the LLRC report by the Government of Sri Lanka.

This, we believe it is imperative that the UNHRC calls on the Government to:

1. Implement LLRC recommendations,
 2. Present a time bound, detailed and specific action plan in this regard to the 20th session of
 the UNHRC,
 3. Report back on progress made on implementation to the 22nd session of the UNHRC, and
 4. Accept the appointment of and fully cooperate with an international independent and
 effective mechanism to monitor above and address accountability issues not dealt with by
 the LLRC

Thank you.
Thank you.

Sincerely yours,

1. Most Rev. Rayappu Joseph, Bishop of Mannar, Pattim, Mannar, Sri Lanka.
 2. Rev. Fr. Kirubaharan, SFXS, Columbuthurai.
 3. Rev. Fr. Mangalarajah, SFXS, Columbuthurai.
 4. Rev. Fr. Jeyabalan Croos, Vankalai.
 5. Rev. Fr. R. Augustin, Nanaatan.
 6. Rev. Fr. L. Gnanathicam, Vanchiyankulam.
 7. Rev. Fr. S. Thavaraja, Vankalai.
 8. Rev. Fr. T. Raviraj, SFXS, Columbuthurai..
 9. Rev. Fr. I. P. Thayaparan, SFXS, Columbuthurai.
 10. Rev. Fr. Iruthayathas, SFXS, Columbuthurai.
 11. Rev. Fr. A. Jeyaseelan, SFXS, Columbuthurai.
 12. Rev. Fr. Paul Rohan. SFXS, Columbuthurai.
 13. Rev. Fr. Chandran, SFXS, Columbuthurai.
 14. Rev. Fr. Luis Ponniah, SFXS, Columbuthurai.
 15. Rev. Fr. Mary Joseph, SFXS, Columbuthurai.
 16. Rev. Fr. Anthonimuththu, Scolasticate, Columbuthurai.
 17. Rev. Fr. M. Pathinathar, Mirusuvil.
 18. Rev. Fr. Anpurasa OMI, Juniarate, Columbuthurai.
 19. Rev. Fr. M.V.E. Ravichandran, Catechetical Centre, Jaffna.
 20. Rev. Fr. R.C.X. Nesarajah, Gurunagar.
 21. Rev. Fr. S.M. P. Ananthakumar, Mathagal.
 22. Rev. Fr. A.C. Christopher, Chundikuli.
 23. Rev. Fr. A. Augustine, Satkoddai.
 24. Rev. Fr. A.J. Yavis, Kilinochchi.
 25. Rev. Fr. S Arudchelvan, Iranaipalai.
 26. Rev. Fr. James Pathinathar, Vavunikulam.
 27. Rev. Fr. Leo Armstrong, Pungudutheevu.
 28. Rev. Fr. C. J. Jeyakumar, Kayts.
 29. Rev. Fr. Gerad Rosairo OMI, Colombo.
 30. Rev. Fr. S.J.Q. Jeyaranjan, Ilavalai.
 31. Rev. Fr. S. A. George, Catechetical Centre, Jaffna
SLM
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