Hugo Swire Tight-lipped On Jeyakumari And Vibhoosika

Although UK foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire has issued a statement demanding the release of Ruki Fernando and Fr. Praveen Mahesan, the statement is tight-lipped on the arrest of disappearance activist B. Jeyakumari and Vibhoosika who are still in custody. 

 It is still not clear as to why Hugo Swire has turned a blind eye to the arrest of Jeyakumari who, according to Sri Lankan Police, are facing criminal charges. 

Many parties who issued statements on the matter, including the UNP, the main opposition of Sri Lanka, linked the arrest of Ruki Fernando and Fr. Praveen Mahesan to that of Jeyakumari. 

The statement issued by Hugo Swire is as follows, 

I am deeply concerned to hear of the arrest and detention of two long-standing and well respected human rights defenders in Sri Lanka. Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen have a strong record of promoting peace, justice and reconciliation across the country. We are urging the government of Sri Lanka to allow them immediate access to lawyers and their families, and to clarify the basis on which they have been detained.

With the March UN Human Rights Council underway and a resolution on Sri Lanka under draft, these arrests underline why the Council must continue its focus on Sri Lanka. The world is watching what happens there, so I urge the Sri Lankan Government to respect human rights defenders and uphold the principles of free expression and movement. This should apply equally to all communities in Sri Lanka.

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