The Womens Network takes this opportunity to condemn the assassination of Jaffna District Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian Nadarajah Raviraj on Saturday the 10th of November.
It is allaged that the assassins were in police uniforms and argeted the car which he was driving, to make sure that he would not survive. Raviraj's security officer Lokkuwala Murage Luxman, 36, who is a Sinhalese was also killed in the attack.
However, we beleive that what is important at this moment is not to argue who killed Raviraj or why he was killed because, the perpetrators who carry out acts in this manner will find numerous tales to justify their cowardness.
But what is important is that the impunity that these acts are carried out. The assasination of Raviraj took place in Colombo where the safety of tamil people or even for that matter all civilian's are at stake. In recent months we have seen an increase in the abductions and lillings of civilians including some political party members by persons who are suspected to be linked to the government.
The fact that these acts are taking place in the capital and in the suburbs where the government is in control, and the fact that the government is taking a passive stand, is shameful for a country which claims to be a democratic nation. Even more it places the safety and security of the entires civil sosicety at stake.
Many representations have been made regarding the Colombo abductions and killings to the Sri Lankan authorities, including to the President, by many concernend groups, but these act of impunity continue. What the governemnt do not realise is that this is deepening the suspicion against the government and exposing its inability to carry out independent and impartial investigations, thus leavign the affected people seek other alterative methods.
The death of Raviraj as well as other politicians in previous occassions is a blow to the cause of democracy that we are trying to protect. Raviraj in his capacity as a Human Rights campaigenr and attorny at law gave a voice to a segemnt in the community who did not have the opportuntity to be heared, which is an essential element in for democracy to live. Only a day earlier, He was seen participating in a demonstration before the UN offices in Colombo, in protest for the Sri Lankan security force attack on Tamil refugees at Kathiraveli in Batticaloa District, killing over 40 people including children, and wounding some 125 others.
While we welcome the President's announcement that the assistance of Scotland Yard would be sought, we also like to highlight that in many investigations announced by Sri Lankan governments have either not begun, not been conducted properly or recommendations have not been implemented. Therefore, we join in the call upon the Sri Lankan government to launch an immediate investigation into the killing of Raviraj with international participation. We urge that any investigation instituted be thorough and transparently and result in brining the perpetrators to book.
Above all we urge the government, to take immediate steps to stop such acts of impunity carried out by militant groups and other political parties operating under the safety net of the government and to take steps to disarm such groups.
We call on all civil society groups to vigorously condemn these acts of violence and urgen the governemnt to carry out impartial investigations in to such acts.
Finally while we accept that the death of Raviraj and all other politicians are the outcome of this bitter conflict that has criminalised our society, we call upon the governemnt and the LTTE to make a genuine effort to re-start negotiations and create a society that respects democracy and the right of people to safety.
ON BEHALF OF
WOMENS NETWORK FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM