Sri Lanka

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

Activists concerned about counter-terror laws while impunity for past crimes persists

Civil society groups have raised concerns about the anti-terror laws. A journalist was attacked by a police officer in Kokuvil East, while a police officer investigating attacks on journalists during former president Mahinda Rajapaksha’s tenure was arbitrarily transferred. There has also been a lack of progress for crimes against journalists and aid workers that occurred during the conflict. Read more

Activists concerned about counter-terror laws while impunity for past crimes persists

Activists fear Rajapaksa’s return to power

Human rights groups have raised fears about a return to past abusive practices in the country after Mahinda Rajapaksa was appointed as President . Rajapaksa’s previous administration was implicated in serious human rights violations during the final stages of Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war and in suppression of freedoms of the media, expression, and association
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Activists fear Rajapaksa’s return to power

Activists threatened and attacked while families of the disappeared protest hearings

Activists working on cases of enforced disappearances are being threatened and attacked . Families of the disappeared are protesting against meetings with the Office for Missing Persons (OMP), saying they had no faith in the body to ensure justice
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Activists threatened and attacked while families of the disappeared protest hearings

Government backs down on restrictive NGO law amendments

In late March 2018, the government agreed to withdraw proposed restrictive amendments to the NGO law. Social media was blocked in the wake of anti-Muslim riots. The government committed to protecting HRDs during the adoption of the UPR at the Human Rights Council Read more

Government backs down on restrictive NGO law amendments