Appeal for action: Lakshan Dias

Post Date: Mar 3rd, 2013 | Categories: Advocacy | COMMENT

Sri Lankan human rights lawyer threatened: Lakshan Dias (by Amnesty International)

We are deeply concerned about this disturbing news: “Since 22 February Sri Lankan human rights lawyer Lakshan Dias has reported being followed and under surveillance by unidentified men who have sought information about him from his wife and neighbours. Colleagues are concerned that he is in danger of enforced disappearance and physical violence.” Amnesty International warns that the life of Srilankan human rights activist Lakshan Dias is in danger. He is a prominent human rights lawyer who has been active in opposing the impeachment of the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court in January. Lakshan is a friend of Vision First and an Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) Steering Committee member. He is also respected by local Srilankans having practiced and assisted many countrymen seeking refuge in Hong Kong. Last month he warned the international community that he was followed and intimidated by unknown individuals with sinister intentions. The reasons for this climate of fear are unclear, though most likely relate to his high-profile human rights work. Several other lawyers have received death threats for engaging in protests advocating independence of the judiciary. Judges have also been threatened and attacked. In solidarity we post this appeal for action. We hope this news will also reach the relevant authorities, including UNHCR and Hong Kong Immigration Department, who may too hastily reject claims on the assumption that Sri Lanka is a safe country.