This has been a dramatic week for peace and human rights activists in Sri Lanka.

Firstly, on March 13, human rights campaigner Jeyakumari Balendran and her 13 year old daughter were arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism act (the daughter was subsequently released).

This was followed on March 16 by the arrest of two highly prominent activists, Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen (of the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation), with no official reason given. The prominent Sri Lankan website Groundviews described the situation as “extremely disturbing and an urgent call to action.”

On March 18 Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen were released, though Jeyakumari Balendran remains under arrest. The Prevention of Terrorism Act allows for detention without trial for up to 18 months.

More information:

The arrests provoked considerable attention internationally: BBCNew York Times, GuardianAl Jazeera. The Groundviews website is carrying regular updates on the arrests.