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Sri Lanka 9 May 2005

Norwegian monitoring mission urged to carry out its own investigation into the murder of Dharmeratnam Sivaram

Reporters Without Borders has urged Erik Solheim, chief facilitator in the peace negotiations of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in a letter to launch an independent international investigation into the murder of Tamilnet editor Dharmeratnam Sivaram.

"The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) has for too long ignored political murders and violations of press freedom. Peace is not built just by a halt in fighting, but also through the opportunity for civil society, including journalists, to work freely and safely. Peace also comes through justice," the worldwide press freedom organisation wrote.

"Experience leads us to fear that the Colombo authorities will not do everything necessary to identify the killers and the instigators of Sivaram’s murder. In fact, the absence of any rigorous investigations and trials in previous murders and attacks on journalists has considerably discredited the state’s work in support of press freedom.

"The killers and those who sent them to kill journalists Mayilvaganam Nimalarajan, Aiyathurai Nadesan, Rohana Kumara, Nadarajah Atputharajah and Anthony Mariyanayagam over the past four years, have never been brought to trial. Reporters Without Borders has constantly condemned this climate of impunity."

Reporters Without Borders has previously - in July 2004 - called on the SLMM to directly intervene in cases of press freedom violations.

We regret that the Norwegian authorities have never publicly condemned attacks against journalists by one of the two parties in conflict, while the document setting up the SLMM specifies that every violation should be the subject of an investigation.




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