'Sri Lanka Should Highlight The Risk Of Violence Around Polls': Amnesty International

08/01/2015 1:39 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST
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MADAMULANA, SRI LANKA - JANUARY 08 : Sri Lankan people wait to cast their votes at a polling station near Madamulana, 178 kilometers (110 miles) south of Colombo, Sri Lanka on January 08,2015. (Photo by Chamila Karunarathne /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

LONDON: Three Sri Lankan human rights activists, working with families of the "disappeared" persons, have received death threats, Amnesty International said today, and asked the government in the country to hold those responsible.

Opposition campaigners Brito Fernando, Phillip Dissanayake and Prasanga Fernando ? who are all well-known human rights defenders active with families of the "disappeared" received phone calls from unknown people who threatened to kill them yesterday.

Prasanga Fernando was told the three should "make your funeral arrangements at your homes."

"These death threats against activists who have been peacefully defending human rights are utterly deplorable," Amnesty said.

"The Sri Lankan authorities must do their utmost to find and hold to account those responsible and send a clear signal that threats and violence around the elections will not be tolerated," said David Griffiths, Amnesty International's Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

"These threats come against the backdrop of a violent election campaign, in which opposition activists have overwhelmingly borne the brunt of attacks," Griffiths said.

Sri Lanka's election campaign has been marked by threats, violence and harassment mainly targeting those campaigning for opposition candidates.

As of January 6, the independent Centre for Monitoring Election Violence had recorded at least 237 "major incidents" during the campaigning period, including one death, dozens of cases of assaults, intimidation and damage to property.

The Tamil Tigers were engaged in an armed conflict with the Sri Lankan forces for nearly-three decades, but were defeated. Thousands of people went missing during the conflict.

They have received over 19,500 complaints inclusive of approximately 5,000 complaints from relatives of missing security forces personnel.

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