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UN Rights Group Deplores Sri Lanka Disappearances

UN rights group deplores recent wave of disappearances in Sri Lanka

11 June 2008 - The Government of Sri Lanka needs to stamp out a recent wave of disappearances in which women and humanitarian aid workers are among those who have gone missing, a group of United Nations human rights experts said today.

The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances said it has formally communicated its concerns to the Sri Lankan authorities that over the last two months 22 people have disappeared, 18 of them in May.

"The Working Group is also concerned that both women and humanitarian aid workers are being targeted," the experts said in a statement.

According to the Group, many more disappearances may be occurring in Sri Lanka but are not being reported because of fear of reprisals.

The experts said that little progress has been made, "despite the supposed willingness of the Government to address the issue of enforced disappearances."

In the statement, the Working Group calls on the Sri Lankan authorities to take effective measures to prevent and terminate acts of enforced disappearances, to carry out thorough investigations and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The Working Group, whose mandate is to help families determine the fate and whereabouts of disappeared relatives, "regrets that it has not been able to visit Sri Lanka, and reiterates its request to the Government to extend an invitation to visit the country without delay."

ENDS

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