IX. Recommendations

To the government of Sri Lanka

  • Acknowledge state responsibility for large-scale “disappearances” and take all steps necessary to stop the practice. Ensure that the military and police fully comply with the requirements of international human rights and humanitarian law.

  • Repeal or revise laws that undermine constitutionally guaranteed protections against human rights violations.

  • Repeal or revise the Emergency Regulations that allow arrest and detention on vaguely defined charges, grant sweeping immunity to the security forces, and allow the disposal of bodies without public notification and without disclosing the results of the post-mortem examination.

  • Take measures to promote transparency on detention:

    o Ensure that all persons detained by security forces are held at recognized places of detention, and that arresting officers identify themselves and present official identification.

    o All places of detention should be required to maintain records regarding every detainee, including the date, time, and location of arrest, the name of the detainee, the reason for detention, and the specific unit or agency responsible for the detention. The records should be available to detainees' families, counsel, and other legitimately interested persons. All transfers of detainees should be reflected in the records.

    o Detainees should promptly be brought before a judge and informed of the reasons for arrest and any charges against them. The family should be informed promptly of the arrest and location of the detainee. Any persons detained by the security forces must be allowed contact with family and unhindered access to legal counsel.

    o Agree to accept and fully cooperate with an international human rights monitoring mission under the auspices of the UN.

  • Take all necessary steps to investigate and establish accountability for those who order and carry out arbitrary arrests and “disappearances.”

    o Make “disappearance” a criminal offense that is punishable by sanctions commensurate with the gravity of the crime.

    o Investigate all cases of enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests, including those documented in this report. Ensure that each case is investigated until the fate or whereabouts of the person is clearly and publicly established.

    o Discipline or prosecute as appropriate all those implicated for participation in abuses in accordance with international due process standards.

    o Hold superior officers, whether civilian or military, criminally accountable if they knew, or should have known, that forces under their command had committed or were about to commit criminal acts, and nothing was done to prevent such commission.

    o Bring to justice members of non-state armed groups, including the Karuna group and the EPDP responsible for abductions and “disappearances,” and investigate security forces’ complicity in these cases.

  • Empower national mechanisms, including the Human Rights Commission and the Presidential Commission on Abductions, Disappearances and Killings, to conduct effective investigations into allegations of “disappearances” and abductions.

    o Make public the reports of the Presidential Commission on Abductions, Disappearances and Killings (Tillekeratne Commission);

    o Restore, in accordance with the Sri Lankan constitution, the structural and operational independence of the Human Rights Commission. Instruct all governmental agencies, including the military and the police, to cooperate with the Human Rights Commission’s investigations and establish accountability for non-compliance.

  • Promptly extend an invitation and schedule a visit for the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances.

  • Sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and enact national legislation that gives force to its provisions.

  • To the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

  • Cease abductions and extrajudicial executions. Discipline any member who commits human rights abuses, including abductions and forcible recruitment of children and adults for forcible recruitment.

  • Allow international bodies, including UNICEF, access to LTTE camps to ascertain the fate and whereabouts of the detainees and to identify children for demobilization.

  • Pledge support to and full cooperation with an international human rights monitoring mission under the auspices of the UN.

  • To donor governments

  • Ensure strong and coordinated response to the crisis of “disappearances” in Sri Lanka. Continue to publicly denounce human rights abuses committed by all parties to the conflict.

  • Urge the government to put an end to the widespread practice of “disappearances,” to seriously investigate pending cases, and to discipline or prosecute the perpetrators.

  • Donor states that have not done so, primarily India, should communicate to the Sri Lankan government their concern about the deteriorating human rights situation and join the international effort to address it.

  • Governments that provide financial assistance to the government or military aid should make such further assistance contingent on the Sri Lankan government taking genuine steps to investigate and prosecute alleged “disappearances” and agreeing to a UN human rights monitoring mission.

  • Extend full and active support to the international human rights monitoring mission under UN auspices. Urge the government and the LTTE to accept and cooperate with such a mission.