4 MARCH 2012, KATHMANDU, NEPAL

The South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE), a regional civil society network encompassing all eight countries of South Asia, strongly condemns the imminent threat to life of Mr. Herman Kumara, the President of our member organisation National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO) in Sri Lanka. 

Mr. Kumara is a senior human rights defender, engaged in defending the rights of Sri Lankan fisher folks, who are currently agitating against the steep fuel price hike that has unjustifiably hit them the hardest. In this context, he has been alleged of instigating the fisher folk constituency into steering the ongoing agitation against the Government of Sri Lanka, and has been thus intimidated with attempts of abduction and even life threats. Although NAFSO has already filed an official complaint with the Pannala Police station, no credible actions have been taken to investigate this genuine complaint.

SAAPE resolutely stands up for human rights, democracy and the rule of law and hence, urgently calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure the full protection of her citizen Mr. Herman Kumara, as duly enshrined in the Constitution of the country. We also request the international community to extend all possible support to uphold and defend the rights of human rights defenders including all Sri Lankan citizens. 

Dr. Arjun Karki

Regional Co-ordinator, SAAPE