Sri Lanka’s State Minister for Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Lohan Ratwatte’s act of forcing the Tamil prisoners to kneeled like slaves, threatening them at gunpoint has raised grave fears among the family members of prisoners and civil society organisations.
“In our work on prison reform and drug rehabilitation UN Sri Lanka works to strengthen capacities to uphold the rights of all those in custody and condemns any ill-treatment of prisoners,” UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Hanaa Singer-Hamdy tweeted.
There have been several incidents in which Tamil prisoners were massacred with the support of the Sri Lankan government. In 1983, 53 Tamil prisoners were massacred in Welikada prison. In 1997, 3 Tamil prisoners were killed by Sinhalese prisoners in Kalutara prison. In 2000, 26 Tamil political prisoners were murdered by Sinhalese mob inside Bindunuwewa prison.
As a result of such a bloody past, the recent threatening incident in Welikada prison has raised serious concerns among the Tamil community in Sri Lanka.
The Tamil people are demanding the United Nations and the international community to address the threats, which endangers the safety of Tamils.