1 June 2011

Joint action

Thirty-seven IFEX members urge authorities to accommodate visit of UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression


(CPJ/IFJ/RSF/WiPC/IFEX) - 1 June 2011 - Free expression advocates from around the world gathered this week in Beirut, Lebanon, at the 16th IFEX General Meeting. Groups signed on to the following letter urging President Rajapaksa to invite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, to Sri Lanka:

H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa
President
Presidential Secretariat
Colombo 1
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Fax: +94 11 243 0590
priu@presidentsoffice.lk

Dear Mr President,

We, the undersigned members and partners of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), are writing with respect to a request that, as the President of Sri Lanka, you invite to Sri Lanka the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue.

In Mr La Rue’s 2011 report to the UN Human Rights Council, he identifies for the second consecutive year that a request is pending for him to conduct a mission to Sri Lanka in his official capacity (1).

For Mr La Rue to make an official visit to Sri Lanka, he requires an invitation from your Government.

As you are aware, the international community of press freedom organisations has repeatedly expressed concerns about the state of media freedom and journalists’ safety in Sri Lanka.

As we gather together for IFEX’s bi-annual conference in Beirut, Lebanon, we are pleased to note that no journalist was confirmed as killed in Sri Lanka in 2010.

However, we remain deeply worried for our colleagues who continue to be subjected to threats, harassment, arson and assaults with alarming regularity.

We, the undersigned, believe that Sri Lanka’s reputation in the international community would be greatly enhanced if the Government were to officially invite Mr La Rue to visit your country.

Such an invitation would indicate your Government’s good faith and transparent commitment to the rule of law and the principle of universal human rights.

We also hope that in anticipation of a visit by the Special Rapporteur that the Government of Sri Lanka will be able to make significant progress in investigating the disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda, who has been missing since he disappeared in Sri Lanka on January 24, 2010.

We are concerned also for the welfare of Prageeth’s colleagues at Lanka-e-News, who have been subject to a series of attacks over the past year, including assault, arson and politically instigated harassment by the police and courts.

Similarly, we would welcome the opportunity for you to advise Mr La Rue on progress in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the murder of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge on January 8, 2009.

We respectfully request that the Government of Sri Lanka commit every reasonable effort to accommodate the requests for a visit by Mr La Rue, and assist with requests from any other international agency in investigating the status of press freedom in your country.

Yours respectfully,

NON-IFEX MEMBER SIGNATORY:



International Media Support (IMS)

CC:

Ban Ki-Moon
UN Secretary General
United Nations Headquarters
New York, NY 10017
Fax: +1 212 963 2155
ecu@un.org

Navi Pillay
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
civilsociety@ohchr.org

Frank La Rue
UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 9006
freedex@ohchr.org

Subinay Nandy
Resident/ Humanitarian Coordinator and Resident Representative
United Nations in Sri Lanka
202 – 204,
Bauddhaloka Mawatha
Colombo 07
Sri Lanka
Fax : +94 11 2581116
undp.all.lk@undp.org

Human Rights Council Advisory Committee
Human Rights Council Secretariat
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais Wilson, United Nations Office at Geneva
CH-1211, Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: +41 (0)22 917 9011
hrcadvisorycommittee@ohchr.org

1 See the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/17session/A.HRC.17.27_en.pdf
Sri Lanka

IFEX members working in this country 1

 
More from Sri Lanka
  • Freedom on the Net 2017: Sri Lanka

    Officials raised the need to introduce laws to regulate news websites and curb hate speech

  • Freedom of the Press 2016: Sri Lanka

    The government granted access to many news sites that had been blocked under the previous administration, including the diaspora-based outlet TamilNet, which had been obstructed since 2007.

  • Freedom on the Net 2015: Sri Lanka

    Rights violations on a considerable decline

 
More from Asia & Pacific
  • TRUTH VS MISINFORMATION: THE COLLECTIVE PUSH BACK

    SOUTH ASIA PRESS FREEDOM REPORT 2018-2019

  • The Campaign for Justice: Press Freedom in South Asia 2013-14

    Journalism in South Asia is far from an easy profession, as the 12th annual review of journalism in the region "The Campaign for Justice: Press Freedom in South Asia 2013-14" portrays. But this year's report also tells the story of the courage of South Asia's journalists to defend press freedom and to ensure citizens' right to information and freedom of expression in the face of increasing challenges to the profession and personal safety.

  • THE STORIES WOMEN JOURNALISTS TELL: Women in Media in South Asia

    The report is the first created by the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) looking specifically at the experience of women journalists in the South Asia sub-region


At this point, would publish cover: "Home page"
 
IFEX is a global network of committed organisations working to defend and promote free expression.
Permission is granted for material on this website to be reproduced or republished in whole or in part provided the source member and/or IFEX is cited with a link to the original item.