Friday, March 09, 2007

Urgent Appeal From Sri Lanka

The Voice of the Martyrs has received an urgent appeal from one of our partners in Sri Lanka asking Christians from around the world to write to the Sri Lankan President and the Minister of Human Rights requesting immediate action regarding the disappearance of Pastor Victor Emmanuel Yogarajan, his two sons, Daniel and David, and another young man, Joseph Sugandakumar (cf. for more details).

A sample letter (below) and their addresses are given below for your convenience. You may want to use this letter or write your own. You may also write to your embassy in Sri Lanka, or the Sri Lankan embassy in your country.

Please do not refer to any organization, including The Voice of the Martyrs, as the source of your information. Please use proper titles, correct spelling of names of officials and use polite language in your letter.

(Sample letter)

Your Excellency

I write to express my grave concern specifically about the disappearance of Pastor Yogarajan and three others on the 2nd of March 2007, and about the alarming trend of disappearances of persons in Sri Lanka in recent months.

Pastor Victor E. M. S. Yogarajan (51) from the Gospel Missionary Church in Vavuniya, his two sons Daniel Yogarajan (22), David Yogarajan (20) and Joseph Suganthakumar (20) from Vavuniya have been missing since the 2nd of March 2007. Their last known location was Negombo, from where Pastor Yogarajan had telephoned his wife on the night of 1st march 2007. I understand that their disappearance has been reported to the Vavuniya Police by family members and that on inquiry, the Negombo Police has denied any knowledge of their whereabouts.

It has become increasingly clear that this is not an isolated incident, but part of a horrifying trend of disappearances and abductions of civilians. The Asian Human Rights Commission has stated that disappearances occur in Sri Lanka at the rate of one every five hours. Several other Sri Lankan and international human rights groups have published evidence of hundreds of such disappearances and extra judicial killings in recent months.

This is indeed a shocking trend for any nation, particularly for a Democratic nation such as Sri Lanka with an elected government. In this situation the paramount responsibility to arrest this trend and bring to book anyone who engages in abductions or extra judicial killings falls on the Sri Lankan Government.

I am also aware that the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE have been called upon by civil society in Sri Lanka, human rights groups, the UN and other governments to address this situation.

The Sri Lankan people have faced more than their share of sorrow and suffering during the past two decades, with war, armed conflict, the devastation caused by the Asian Tsunami and other natural disasters.

While I and many others appreciate the efforts made by your Government to address some of these challenges, even in the face of difficulties and set backs, I request your urgent attention and action to ensure all Sri Lankan citizens their basic security and freedom from fear of abductions, through adherence to proper legal procedures governed by the Rule of Law, when making arrests or detentions.

Specifically, I request your intervention in finding Pastor Yogarajan and returning them to their families. If they have been detained by a Government authority, I request your intervention to ensure that their families are informed of their whereabouts and the charges against them, in keeping with basic human rights and the laws of Sri Lanka, so that they have recourse to the law.

I urge your intervention and immediate action to stop the abductions and harassment of civilians and look forward to a positive change, where every Sri Lankan citizen can live peacefully without fear of abductions and terror.

Yours sincerely and respectfully,


Post / Fax your letters to:

His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse President of Sri LankaPresidential Secretariat,
Secretariat Building,
Colombo 1
Sri Lanka

Telephone 94-1-2327522
Fax 94-11-2472100

Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe
Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights
No 383 Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 7
Sri Lanka
Telephone - 94-1- 2693285
Fax - 94-11-2693284

Thank you for standing together with our brothers in this vital and timely way. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

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