Review actions against Komas rights defenders

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Proham urges the Home Affairs Ministry and the Attorney-General’s Chambers to review its position on Komas staff over the screening of the documentary ‘No Fire Zone, the Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’ on July 3, 2013. Proham is of the opinion that the ministry is being misled by the Sri Lanka embassy representatives in Malaysia.

This investigatory documentary which was produced by an award-winning film maker, Callum Macrae, was screened in March 2013 at the 22nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Furthermore it was also screened at the committee room in the Australian Parliament on June 24, 2013. It is a well-researched documentary.

The Malaysian officials must be reminded that on March 21, 2013 the UN Human Rights Council took a vote calling the Sri Lanka government to conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations of violations of international human rights. Twenty-five countries supported the resolution, 13 were against and eight were absent, including Malaysia.

Earlier on March 31, 2011, in the report of the ‘UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on accountability in Sri Lanka’, indicated that “the panel found credible allegations, which if proven indicates that a wide range of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law as committed both by the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE”.

Furthermore, the theme of Callum Macrae’s documentary is consistent with the 2011 Jon Snow’s Channel 4 documentary entitled ‘Sri Lanka killing fields’.

Therefore, Proham views this action by the Malaysian government of charging the Komas staff as restricting the democratic space for reasonable public discussion a matter of great international concern and which has already secured the support of a majority of the Human Rights Council members, and which the Sri Lanka government is not complying with.

The action by the Malaysian authorities seems irreverent as these documentaries, materials and discussions are now available on the social media and YouTube.

The initiative by the Komas team is consistent with creating public awareness on international human rights violations and therefore a legitimate human rights activity, a theme that the Human Rights Council has openly discussed, decided upon and is well documented on its official website.

The Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) is composed of a group of former Suhakam commissioners.


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