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March 22, 2014

US Concerned About Sri Lankan Arrests

by VOA News

The United States says it is concerned about the "intensifying pressure" on Sri Lankan civil society and human rights activists.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Friday the U.S. was "especially concerned" about the detention last week of two well-known human rights activists - Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen Mahesan - following their inquiries about the arrest of another activist.

Their detention triggered international condemnation and the two were released.

Psaki said the arrests sent a "chilling effect" across Sri Lanka's "vibrant civil society and undermine Sri Lanka's proud democratic traditions."

Sri Lanka is facing a U.S.-sponsored resolution at the current session of the U.N. Human Rights Council concerning its failure to conduct an inquiry into alleged war abuses and human rights violations after the government defeated Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009.