Respect for fundamental human rights in Sri Lanka fell in serious jeopardy following Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s election as president in November 2019. Sri Lanka not only stalled on providing accountability and reconciliation 10 years after its civil war ended, but also withdrew from commitments made at the UN Human Rights Council. The draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act remains in effect, facilitating torture and other abuse. The government failed to initiate security sector or criminal justice reform. Human rights defenders and victims of past abuses are subjected to intimidation and surveillance. Muslims and other religious minorities face ongoing threats and violence. Government measures to control the Covid-19 pandemic discriminate against Islamic funeral practices.

  • Asia
    Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the independence day celebrations in Colombo, February 4, 2020.
  • Free Speech
    The Sri Lankan government should end the targeted arrests, intimidation and threats against the lives and physical security of lawyers, activists, human rights defenders and journalists, 10 international human rights organizations said today. A campaign of fear has intensified since the 2019 presidential election, and has cast a shadow over the 2020 parliamentary election campaign.
    Sri Lanka: Human Rights Under Attack
  • Free Speech
    The Sri Lankan authorities should stop targeting, intimidating, and harassing journalist and woman human rights defender, Dharisha Bastians, and her family. The Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Front Line Defenders condemn this assault on human rights and press freedom in Sri Lanka and call on the Sri Lanka Police to immediately stop the harassment and ensure Bastians’ safety.