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IFJ welcomes United Nations' response on missing journalist's case

(IFJ/IFEX) - March 10, 2011 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is heartened by reports that the office of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has responded positively to a letter requesting the UN's support in the case of missing Lanka-e-News columnist and cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda in Sri Lanka.

As part of a coalition of five press freedom groups, the IFJ wrote to Ban on March 7 requesting the UN's intervention in Eknaligoda's case, more than a year after he disappeared on January 24, 2010.

The joint letter supported a similar request from Eknaligoda's wife Sandhya, which was delivered to the UN representative in Sri Lanka, Neil Buhne, shortly after the one-year anniversary of her husband's disappearance.

The Associated Press reports the UN Secretary-General has requested the assistance of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNESCO in investigating the circumstances of Eknaligoda's disappearance and investigations by Sri Lankan authorities into his whereabouts.

"The IFJ welcomes Secretary-General Ban's support for Sandhya Eknaligoda's attempts to find her husband and urges the international community to maintain every effort to ensure a full investigation is conducted," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

"Ultimately though, the Government of Sri Lanka is responsible for investigating his disappearance and bringing those responsible to justice."

The mounting international pressure over Eknaligoda's disappearance comes as reports emerge that a habeas corpus petition submitted by his family will be considered by a Colombo court on May 26.

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