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