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* UN underscores importance of protection, promotion of human rights in Sri Lanka
Tue, Mar 18, 2014, 09:57 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 18, New York: The United Nations Monday said that it is aware of the reports on the arrests of two human right defenders in Sri Lanka.

When asked about the reported arrest of two human rights activists in Sri Lanka, the Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric at the Monday media briefing said Sri Lanka's situation is being constantly looked at and evaluated.

The Spokesperson recalled that the Secretary-General and the President of Sri Lanka in their 2009 joint statement emphasized the importance of protection and promotion of human rights in keeping with international human rights standards and Sri Lanka's international obligation.

"On the arrests, yes, we've seen the reports, we are aware of them. And as you will recall, the Secretary-General and the President of Sri Lanka, in their 2009 joint statement, emphasized the importance of protection and promotion of human rights in keeping with international human rights standards and Sri Lanka's international obligation," Dujarric said.

"On Sri Lanka...the situation is being constantly looked at and evaluated," the Spokesman said.

The arrests of two human rights activists Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen in Kilinochchi Sunday night by the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) of Sri Lankan police under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) has raised concern among the international human right organizations as well as in the US and UK.

Earlier the police arrested an activist for missing persons in the North, Balendran Jayakumari for sheltering a former LTTE cadre who shot and injured a police officer on March 13.

Issuing a statement, the US Embassy in Colombo urged the Sri Lankan government to follow due legal process over the arrests of the activists.

"We urge Sri Lankan government authorities to ensure that all those detained are given transparent and due legal process, including full access to legal counsel," the Embassy said.

The US said the arrests have convinced the US and the international community that an international investigation into Sri Lanka's alleged human rights violations by UN the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is necessary.

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