Sri Lanka News

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World Cup venues out of bounds for AI

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has assured that Amnesty International (AI) would have no room at World Cup venues for the purpose to carry out its publicity campaign to garner support for an international human rights mission in Sri Lanka.

This assurance was given by ICC’s acting CEO Faizal Hasne to Ambassador M.N. Junaid, Foreign Ministry media Director General Ravinatha P. Aryasinha told the media yesterday adding that the ICC had taken a strong view on the AI campaign.

The international rights group had launched the public campaign titled ‘Play by the Rules’ to coincide with the ongoing cricket World Cup in the Caribbean saying that just as a cricket match needed an independent referee or umpire to make objective decisions and interpret the rules, so, too, the Sri Lankan government, the LTTE and other armed groups must commit themselves to allowing independent human rights monitors into their country to make sure they “play by the rules”.

“The ICC is taking every measure to make sure there is no mischief at the match venues,” Mr. Aryasinha said.

He said additionally the government had adopted a multi pronged approach, through its Sri Lankan missions overseas, to prevail on the ICC to ensure AI did not take its campaign to the World Cup venues.

Amnesty offices in Australia, Bahamas, Bermuda, India, Nepal and Britain are organizing events to mobilize public and political support for the deployment of international monitors, including politicians and cricketing celebrities.

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said cricket was a gentlemen’s game and any attempt to use it for political purposes or attempts by AI to use the media coverage of the World Cup for its campaign should be condemned.

“Such moves can be a threat to the cricketers,” the Minister said.

AI said thousands have already joined the call for Sri Lanka to ’Play by the Rules!’ by signing specially designed foam cricket balls and were taking part in public activities to raise awareness about the grave human rights situation in the country.

“Please note that the campaign is in no way aimed at the Sri Lankan cricket team,” the AI said…via Daily Mirror

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April 10, 2007 - Posted by | International News

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