• The Sri Lankan government failed to advance justice for the victims of the country’s 26-year-long civil war in 2011. While Sri Lanka’s war-ravaged North and East became more open, the government deepened repression of basic freedoms, notably limiting the right to free speech. The long-awaited Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission report on the fighting failed to call for investigations into well-documented allegations of violations of international humanitarian law. The government largely ignored complaints of insecurity and land grabbing. The Tamil population in the North benefitted from greater access by humanitarian and local human rights groups and the media, but inadequate steps were taken to normalize their living conditions.

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  • A Muslim woman cries next to her burnt house after a violent attack against Muslims in Aluthgama on June 16, 2014.
    The Sri Lankan government stepped up pressure in 2014 on human rights activists and journalists, particularly those urging justice for past war crimes.


Sri Lanka

  • Mar 5, 2015

    In the face of massive human rights abuses, the Human Rights Council has a responsibility to be part of the solution. It needs to resist the temptation to retreat into political and regional factionalism, to undermine the independence of your Office, High Commissioner, invoke selectivity to deflect attention from situations demanding international attention, or engage in procedural tactics to silence debate.

  • Feb 26, 2015
    Sri Lanka’s new government should advance a reform agenda to address past and ongoing human rights problems in the country, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the newly elected president, Maithripala Sirisena.
  • Feb 26, 2015
    Congratulations on your recent election success. Your coalition government now has an historic opportunity and responsibility to address major human rights issues that have been ignored or exacerbated by previous administrations. We look forward to your leading efforts to address past and ongoing human rights violations in the country and re-establish Sri Lanka as a rights-respecting democracy.
  • Jan 29, 2015
    The Sri Lankan government stepped up pressure in 2014 on human rights activists and journalists, particularly those urging justice for past war crimes.
  • Jan 6, 2015
    Authorities in Sri Lanka should ensure that voters have safe and secure access to the polls to vote in presidential elections on January 8, 2015, and that state media is not misused in favor of the incumbent.
  • Sep 25, 2014
    Human Rights Watch welcomes the High Commissioner's update on Sri Lanka. We regret that senior officials in the Sri Lankan government have rejected the 2014 Human Rights Council resolution asking the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to independently investigate allegations of serious violations.
  • Sep 8, 2014
    Governments are primarily responsible for protecting human rights but when they fail the UN and its member states must act decisively and unequivocally to prevent abuse.
  • Jul 2, 2014
  • Jul 2, 2014
    At least 142 Pakistanis arrested in police sweeps in June 2014 are being detained and are at risk of deportation.
  • Jun 19, 2014
    The Sri Lankan authorities should urgently investigate recent deadly violence against minority Muslim communities, Human Rights Watch said today. The violence, which began on June 15, 2014, after a rally led by the ultranationalist Buddhist Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) organization, left at least four Muslims dead, 80 injured, and numerous homes and businesses destroyed in the town of Aluthgama and surrounding areas.