• 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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Sri Lanka

  • Apr 7, 2014
    The Sri Lankan government’s decision to label 16 overseas Tamil organizations as financers of terrorism is so broad that it appears aimed at restricting peaceful activism by the country’s Tamil minority, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should provide evidence of the unlawful activity of specific groups and individuals or remove them from the list.
  • Mar 26, 2014
    This is the third year running that a resolution on Sri Lanka has been discussed at the Human Rights Council. In spite of two previous resolutions giving the Sri Lankan government ample opportunity to credibly address accountability for the many violations of international humanitarian law outlined in its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report as well as the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts report, there has been no evidence of meaningful progress. This has been forcefully reported by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, both in her statement after her August 2013 visit to Sri Lanka, and in her comprehensive written report delivered to the Human Rights Council today.
  • Mar 26, 2014
    Members of the United Nations Human Rights Council should vote for a resolution calling on the UN’s human rights office to investigate allegations of war crimes by all sides during the final months of Sri Lanka’s civil war, Human Rights Watch said today. The vote on the resolution is expected on March 27, 2014.
  • Mar 18, 2014
  • Mar 17, 2014
  • Feb 26, 2014
    The United Nations Human Rights Council should adopt the recommendation of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to create an independent international inquiry into war crimes and other serious abuses committed during Sri Lanka’s armed conflict.
  • Feb 3, 2014
  • Jan 21, 2014
    Sri Lanka made little progress in 2013 in accountability for serious human rights abuses committed during the country’s civil war that ended in 2009.
  • Dec 31, 2013
    With the slaughter of civilians in Syria still horribly unrestrained, it is easy to be discouraged about human rights. There is, of course, every reason for outrage about Syria, and about the international community's narrow focus on peace talks, unlikely as they are to succeed anytime soon, without any comparable effort to stop the killing of civilians while the fighting continues. But there has been human rights progress in many areas in 2013. That is of obvious importance for the immediate beneficiaries, but it also should encourage efforts for progress on persistent abuses elsewhere. Here are a few of the human rights milestones of the past year.
  • Dec 18, 2013
    The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) should leverage their countries’ collective bargaining power to seek greater protection for their nationals working in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.