Time to Put the Spotlight on Sri Lanka

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Human Rights Activist in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan human rights activists demanding the release of all alleged political prisoners stage a protest in Colombo on July 10, 2012. (Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/GettyImages)

Sri Lanka’s human rights record doesn’t get much international attention these days. But that’s going to change on November 1 in Geneva, when the U.N. Human Rights Council examines Sri Lanka’s record as part of the Council’s “Universal Periodic Review” (UPR) procedure.

Sri Lanka has a lot to account for, especially its continuing use of security laws against peaceful, outspoken critics, including journalists. Hundreds are being detained with no charge or trial. Many detainees have been tortured while in custody, and some have even been killed. No one has been held accountable for these crimes; impunity reigns.

We have a chance on Nov. 1 to expose Sri Lanka’s shameful practices of arbitrary detention, but we need your help.

Please send an online letter to your Members of Congress. Ask them to urge the Administration to highlight Sri Lanka’s practices of unlawful detention during the Human Rights Council’s UPR session on Sri Lanka. The U.S. should make the following recommendations to the Sri Lankan government during this session:

  • Repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act and abolish the system of administrative detention.
  • Release all individuals arrested under emergency or anti-terrorism laws, unless they are charged with recognizably criminal offenses and remanded by an independent, regularly constituted court. Any trials must be held promptly and in regularly constituted courts with all internationally recognized safeguards provided.
  • Ensure that any arrest and/or detention is in strict compliance with Sri Lanka’s obligations under international human rights law, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (to which Sri Lanka is a party), and adheres to the 2006 decree of Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa by registering detainees and informing their families and the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission of the place of arrest.

Also, please send an online letter to the Sri Lankan government asking that they end their practice of unlawful detention without delay.

With your help, we can end arbitrary detention in Sri LankaPlease act today!

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8 thoughts on “Time to Put the Spotlight on Sri Lanka

  1. Amnesty International….supporters of Tamil Tiger Terrorists….
    STOP Bullying Sri Lanka…..
    Nationalist Government / Citizens of Sri Lanka will NEVER bow down to …..
    so-called Human Rights Vultures / Mafia..

  2. Lankawick,

    Amnesty is calling for both sides to be held accountable. I think you should become more informed!

  3. Gayle is correct that Amnesty has been calling for accountability for reported war crimes and other human rights abuses committed by both the government forces and the opposition Tamil Tigers during the civil war in Sri Lanka. See http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocac… It is also correct that the blog post above does not refer to the Tigers, since the Tigers were defeated at the end of the war and do not hold any prisoners at this time; the focus of the blog post is on the arbitrary detention currently being practiced by the Sri Lankan government.

    With respect to whether Amnesty International has spoken out against human rights violations committed by other governments, a review of our 2012 annual report (see http://www.amnesty.org/en/annual-report/2012) would show those interested what Amnesty has said about violations committed by other governments. Yet I also reject the argument that the validity of our criticism of the Sri Lankan government's violations of human rights is somehow dependent on how we react to other governments' violations. That argument is merely an attempt to change the subject and deflect international attention from the serious violations that have been and are still being committed in Sri Lanka.

  4. Dear conscientious folks (Gayle and others),

    We all know Amnesty International was strictly NEUTRAL in all countries. Let us look at positive actions like AI is doing. A good Sri Lankan Sinhalese friend said he knows of people who are 'full time paid commentators' to hide the Truth and Justice in Sri Lanka.

    Readers can sign this Avaaz petition to bring more Truth: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Sri_Lanka_Me

    why? Because even the Judiciary in Sri Lanka is being attacked now! http://tinyurl.com/SrilankaAttackOnJudge

    OMG, 60+ years…