AI slams Sri Lanka on unlawful detentions, torture

 

26/Feb/2015

Sri Lankan authorities continued to threaten, harass and arrest human rights defenders, including lawyers, family members of the disappeared and other activists last year, according to Amnesty International.

“None of the incidents known to Amnesty International were effectively investigated, and no prosecutions were initiated,” the global human rights organisation said, in its international report for 2014, published this morning.

It claimed that people calling for accountability for past and current human rights violations, including human rights defenders attempting to communicate concerns to the UN, were “harassed and threatened.”

In some instances, individuals suspected of “internationalizing” these issues through association with foreign colleagues were detained, the report said.

“Unlawful detentions and torture by security forces were carried out with impunity as the authorities continued to rely on the Prevention of Terrorism Act to arrest and detain suspects without charge or trial.”

“Human rights defenders and family members of people subjected to enforced disappearance were threatened and arrested, and fatal attacks on religious minorities went unpunished.”

“Political violence and intimidation – mainly against political opposition supporters and civil society activists – were reported in the run-up to the snap presidential election called for January 2015,” the human rights watchdog said, in its annual report.

“Discrimination against ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities, including members of Tamil, Muslim and Christian communities, continued. Minorities were singled out for arbitrary restrictions on freedoms of expression and association.”

“Tamils, particularly those from the north of the country, were harassed, threatened and arrested by security forces which suspected them of sympathy or links with the LTTE, based largely on their ethnicity and place of origin or residence.”