Sri Lankan human rights activists targeted in May Day rallies

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Free Media Movement (FMM) in highlighting an attack on two Sri Lankan human rights activists on May Day activities in Colombo. The IFJ and FMM said while quick support and protection of the victims by police was welcome, an full investigation was needed to determine appropriate action against the perpetrators.

Human rights activists Dr Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri and Dr Kumudu Kusum Kumara were both at May Day rallies at the Kirullapona Lalith Athulathmudali in the capital Colombo on May 1 when they were allegedly targeted by supporters of Sri Lanka’s former president Mahindra Rajapaksa. Both activists were attacked when the pro-Rajapaksa supporters recognised them, claiming that they were responsible for Rajapaksa’s loss in the presidential elections in January.

According to reports, police offered protection to Dr Devasiri and Dr Kumara, escorting them from the rallies. The police were also allegedly targeted in the violence.

The IFJ and FMM call on the Sri Lankan government to investigate the incident.

The FMM said: “The FMM wants the government to take speedy action against those responsible for the assault against Dr.Nirmaal Ranjith Devasiri and Dr.Kumudu Kusum Kumara. The FMM would like to urge the government to look in to these issues as well and take appropriate action in order to prevent repetition.” 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

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