If you’ve been watching the attempts to silence media in Sri Lanka through attacks, disappearances, legal harassment, and government policies aimed at restricting free speech and the right to information, take the time to speak out with others around the world today. An opportunity like this only comes around every four years.
Sri Lanka’s human rights record came under review at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva today. The Council investigates every country’s human rights record, and November 1 is Sri Lanka’s turn.
CPJ and other media support organizations have submitted documentation to the Council addressing all of the issues above, and more. In all, 45 human rights organizations have made written submissions, all of which are available here. After today’s debate a report will be written up by the Council and presented publicly via a one-hour debate on November 5. Then, some human rights organizations will be allowed to speak, but only for a total of 20 minutes. But between then and now, you can make your voice heard through a variety of social media platforms.
You can be sure the government of Sri Lanka will be doing its best to play down the deserved criticisms coming its way, so make the best use of the coming days to counter its denials. The two official hashtags are #UPR14 and #UPRLKA , but below is a list of other addresses that you can use to make yourself and your organizations heard. (All also have a presence on Facebook).
Amnesty India: @AIIndia
Centre for Policy Alternatives: @CPASL
Committee to Protect Journalists: @cpjasia, @pressfreedom
Frances Harrison: @francesharris0n
Freedom from Torture: @FreefromTorture,
International Crisis Group: @akeenan23
American PEN: @PENamerican
English PEN: @englishpen
Reporters Without Borders: @RSF_RWB
US:•The Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice: @SLcampaign
Benjamin Dix, author of “the Vanni”: @TheVanni2012
UPDATE: Citizen journalism website Groundviews is archiving tweets tagged with #UPALKA and has created a spectacular visualization of Twitter users interacting about Sri Lanka’s human rights record. You can find it here.