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MAR-APR 2016

SRI LANKA. Sri Lankan journalist and cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda went missing on 24 January 2010 whilst travelling home from work in Homagama, near Sri Lankan capital Colombo. Employed by the Lanka-e-News office, Amnesty International is concerned that Prageeth may have been subjected to enforced disappearance due to his professional activities as a journalist.

His disappearance coincided with the run up to the Sri Lankan Presidential election that took place on 26 January 2010. An outspoken government critic, Prageeth was actively reporting on the election and, a week before he went missing, had completed a comparative analysis of the two main presidential candidates which favoured the opposition candidate, Sarath Fonseka, who ultimately lost the election.

In Sri Lanka, anti-terror legislation and emergency regulations are frequently used to silence dissent in the name of national security. Furthermore, journalists have been killed, physically assaulted, abducted, and harassed by both government personnel and members of armed groups. There have been no prosecutions of perpetrators of journalist killings since 2005.

Call on the Sri Lankan authorities to identify and prosecute perpetrators of unlawful killings. Protect the family of disappeared political cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda from harassment or reprisal as they seek truth and justice. Act promptly on any information provided by the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and ensure that those against whom there is evidence of wrongdoing are prosecuted and punished in accordance with international law and standards of due process.

Write to the Attorney General:

Hon. Jayantha Jayasuriya
President’s Counsel
Attorney General
P.O. Box 502, Hulfsdorp
Colombo 12
Sri Lanka


(Sorry, no email address available for this case.)

Copies may be sent to:

Her Excellency Ms Amari Mandika Wijewardine,
High Commission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,
13 Hyde Park Gardens,
London W2 2LU.

Fax 020 7262 7970.

HONDURAS. On 2 March 2016, Berta Cáceres, leader and co-founder of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) was killed in her hometown of La Esperanza, Intibucá Department, Honduras. Berta and COPINH had campaigned against the construction of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project on the Gualcarque River and the Lenca Indigenous Peoples’ ancestral lands. COPINH, in particular, has defended their right to free, prior and informed consent. Other organizations, such as the Independent Lenca Indigenous Movement of La Paz (MILPAH), have also questioned the construction of hydroelectric plants in Intibucá and La Paz, arguing that the Lenca communities were not properly consulted.

Due to their work on issues related to the rights of Indigenous communities, territory, and natural resources, Berta Cáceres, COPINH and MILPAH have received repeated threats, attempts to criminalize their work, and physical attacks and harassment for many years. Berta’s assassination sent a very strong message to territory, land and environmental rights defenders, provoking fear and calling into question the deterrent effect of international recognition for human rights defenders’ legitimate work. Since her murder, members of COPINH and MILPAH have continued to be threatened, surveilled, harassed, attacked, and even killed. Berta’s family and the Lenca People must obtain justice for her assassination, so that COPINH and MILPAH members are able to continue promoting and defending Indigenous, territory and environmental rights in safe conditions.

Thoroughly investigate and prosecute all those responsible for Berta Cáceres’ murder and send a strong message preventing further murders of human rights defenders; Take all appropriate measures to guarantee the safety of COPINH members, MILPAH members, and Berta Cáceres’ relatives in accordance with their wishes and needs, in order to fulfil their obligation to protect them as set by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ precautionary measures; Recognize publicly, and at the highest levels of both local and national authorities, the legitimate work done by COPINH, MILPAH, and all human rights defenders in Honduras addressing issues related to land, territory and the environment.

Write to the President of Honduras:

Sr. Presidente Juan Orlando Hernández
Casa Presidencial
Bulevar Juan Pablo II
Tegucigalpa
Honduras


Fax : 00504 2221 4570, Email : info@presidencia.gob.hn (cc : murquia@presidencia.gob.hn) , Twitter : @JuanOrlandoH, @Presidencia_HN

Copies may be sent to:

His Excellency Mr Ivan Romero-martinez
Embassy of Honduras
4th Floor 136 Baker Street
London W1U 6UD.

Fax 020 7486 4550.

EGYPT: In June 2013, 43 foreign and Egyptian NGO workers were sentenced to prison terms of between one and five years and a series of international NGOs were shut down, including Freedom House and the International Center for Journalists, in relation to Case 173.

In the past year, investigative judges have ramped up pressure on Egyptian human rights groups, using arbitrary travel bans, arrests, and asset freezes to muzzle freedom of expression, association, and assembly in orchestrated efforts to dismantle the country’s human rights movement and crush the slightest signs of dissent. Leading human rights defenders are at risk of life imprisonment if convicted of the politically-motivated charges against them.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is also expected to sign a bill to replace the existing associations law. If passed, it would force human rights groups to seek official approval to conduct field research, publish their findings and seek funding.

Call on the Egyptian authorities to Close Case 173 and halt all intimidation and harassment tactics against human rights defenders. We also call on President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi not to sign the new NGO law, which would be a "death warrant" for rights groups. Call on Egypt’s authorities to close the politically motivated Case 173 of 2011 and end the harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders, including through arbitrary arrests, interrogations, travel bans, asset freeze and closure orders, and trumped-up charges; ensure that the asset freezes imposed on human rights defenders and organizations, in relation to Case 173 of 2011, are immediately lifted; reject the new NGO bill, because it contravenes Egypt’s 2014 constitution, as well as international law and standards on the right to freedom of association.

Write to:

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Office of the President
Al Ittihadia Palace
Cairo
Arab Republic of Egypt.


Fax: 00202 2391 1441, Email: p.spokesman@op.gov.eg , Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial OR to: Minister of Social Solidarity / Ghada Waly / Ministry of Social Solidarity / 19 Maragahi Street / Agouza / Giza / Arab Republic of Egypt. Fax: 00202 3337 5390

Copies may be sent to:

His Excellency Mr Nasser Ahmed Kamel
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
26 South Street
London W1K 1DW.

Fax: 020 7491 1542.

Minimum airmail worldwide postage rate is £1.17 for letters weighing up to 10 grammes from 27th March 2017.