Sri Lanka

Protesters in Sri Lanka face excessive force, arbitrary arrests and attacks with impunity

Over the last two months, human rights groups have documented the use of excessive force by the police against protesters in Sri Lanka, including the use of water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets. Hundreds have been arbitrarily arrested and there have also been incidents of torture or ill-treatment in detention, including denial of access to medical care and lawyers. Journalists have also been targeted and some are facing charges. The authorities also used state of emergency regulations to curtail protests and also shut down social media networks. Pro-government mobs were also unleashed to attack protesters and protest sites with impunity. Read more

Protesters in Sri Lanka face excessive force, arbitrary arrests and attacks with impunity

Assault on civic freedoms continue in Sri Lanka as an economic crisis hits the country

In recent months activists have been arrested or faced threats and intimidation from the authorities, while journalists have been attacked or faced harassment. The authorities also disrupted gatherings and protests in the North and North Eastern parts of the country. Read more

Assault on civic freedoms continue in Sri Lanka as an economic crisis hits the country

Sri Lanka authorities crack down on protests, stifle critics and accused of torturing detainees

In recent months the authorities have cracked down on protests and activists advocating for education rights, intimidated individuals critical of the government and detained them under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). There have been reports of political prisoners tortured in custody and concerns about amendments to the NGO law. Read more

Sri Lanka authorities crack down on protests, stifle critics and accused of torturing detainees

Despite UN concerns Sri Lanka continues to detain critics, arrest protesters and entrench impunity

Violations of civic freedoms in Sri Lanka have persisted in recent months including the ongoing detention of activists, harassment of journalists, attempts to criminalise “fake-news” and a crackdown on peaceful protest under the guise of dealing with COVID-19. Read more

Despite UN concerns Sri Lanka continues to detain critics, arrest protesters and entrench impunity

Ahead of new Sri Lanka resolution, civil society and UN highlight ongoing rights concerns

The Human Rights Council (HRC), which is currently holding its 46th session, is negotiating a new resolution on Sri Lanka on the implementation of the HRC’s recommendations related to reconciliation, accountability and human rights. Human rights groups have warned of a deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka. In recent months, there have been restrictions on the right to peaceful assembly against civil society members, journalists in the North and East while human rights lawyer, Hejaaz Hizbullah remains in detention. Further a journalist is at risk of arrest for her Facebook posts, a former police investigator targeted for exposing human rights abuses is still in detention while a parliamentarian has been sentenced to a four year prison term for contempt of court. Read more

Ahead of new Sri Lanka resolution, civil society and UN highlight ongoing rights concerns

Civic freedom violations persist in Sri Lanka as the President expands his powers

In recent months human rights groups have reported and increasing suppression of dissent, human rights lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah continues to face judicial persecution and there have been ongoing attacks on journalists. Groups seeking transitional justice for crimes during civil war held protests seeking answers especially on the disappeared but face harassment from the authorities. Read more

Civic freedom violations persist in Sri Lanka as the President expands his powers

Ahead of Sri Lanka elections, lawyers, journalists and activists arrested, threatened and harassed

In the last few months, human rights lawyers and journalists have faced arrests, threats and harassment. A report by the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association published in May 2020 shows that civil society faced challenges to register and operate while there have been various barriers to protests. In June 2020, authorities cracked down on a Black Lives Matter solidarity protest. Read more

Ahead of Sri Lanka elections, lawyers, journalists and activists arrested, threatened and harassed

Pardon for war criminal creates chilling effect in Sri Lanka as threats to activists increase

In the last few months, the President pardoned an army officer convicted of crimes during the conflict. There have also been reports that security agencies are stepping up surveillance, harassment and threats against human rights activists and journalists and that the government has reneged on replacing a repressive counterterrorism law. Police have been instructed to arrest individuals criticising authorities on social media for its handling of the pandemic. Further, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief stated that the ICCPR Act has been used to restrict freedom of expression. Read more

Pardon for war criminal creates chilling effect in Sri Lanka as threats to activists increase

Journalists and activists targeted as many fear regression of rights following Sri Lankan elections

Over the last two months, journalists have faced harassment, threats and attacks for their reporting while a Swiss embassy employee was detained by unknown persons and interrogated for information around asylum provided to Sri Lankans. Academic and human rights lawyer Kumaravadivel Guruparan has been targeted, while there have been reports of surveillance and intimidation against anti-disappearance protesters. Read more

Journalists and activists targeted as many fear regression of rights following Sri Lankan elections

Misuse of ICCPR Act and judicial system to stifle freedom of expression in Sri Lanka

In the last few months, a number of individuals have been arrested and charged under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act of 2007 for the peaceful expression of their views. Further, contempt of courts proceedings have been brought against academic and activist Sarath Wijesuriya and an intelligence office linked in the killing of a journalist has been reinstated. Following the April 2019 attacks social media was blocked temporarily. Read more

Misuse of ICCPR Act and judicial system to stifle freedom of expression in Sri Lanka