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* Canada calls on Sri Lanka to respect the rights of the detained activists
Tue, Mar 18, 2014, 10:39 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 18, Ottawa: The Government of Canada today called on the Sri Lankan government to respected the rights of the two human rights activists arrested and detained by the Sri Lankan Police and expressed support to the UN Human Rights Council for continued monitoring of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.

Issuing a statement on Tuesday Canada's Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights Deepak Obhrai said Canada is concerned about the recent and "seemingly arbitrary" arrest and detention of several activists, including a pastor, in Sri Lanka.

The Terrorism Investigation Unit (TID) of Sri Lanka Police Sunday arrested Ruki Fernando a human rights adviser to the Colombo-based human rights organization INFORM, and a Catholic priest, Rev. Praveen Omi, former Director of the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation (CPR) based in Jaffna and detained them under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

"We call on the Government of Sri Lanka to respect the rights of those detained and ensure due process for the detainees, including by guaranteeing them full access to legal counsel," the Canadian government said.

"Canada has repeatedly raised concerns over past and ongoing human rights violations in Sri Lanka, many of which are currently being discussed at the UN Human Rights Council, including arbitrary detentions and reprisals against activists. Against this disturbing backdrop, Canada supports the continued monitoring of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka," the statement said.

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