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Compromised Safety, Pay Cuts, Representatives Threatened

(New York) – The Sri Lankan government, factory owners, and the international clothes brands sourcing from Sri Lanka should protect the safety and employment rights of garment workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
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Discriminatory Measure Targets Marginalized Population

Muslims in Sri Lanka already faced a growing list of discriminatory government policies before the cabinet approved plans on April 27 to ban women’s face coverings. If approved by parliament, the measure will outlaw garments worn by some Muslim women…
A Sri Lankan Muslim woman wearing a burka walks in a street in Colombo, Sri Lanka
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International Women’s Day Should Prompt Real Reforms

As 2020 drew to a close, protesters across South Asia took to the streets, calling on their governments to take widespread sexual violence against women and children seriously, and to implement real reforms. But rather than listening to experts and…
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UN Human Rights Council Should Pursue Accountability

(Geneva) – Sri Lanka’s government is aggressively attacking efforts to hold officials to account for past grave abuses, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 93-page report, “Open Wounds and Mounting Dangers: Blocking…
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Death Penalty Push Ignores Real Solutions to Regional Failings

(New York) – South Asian governments should disregard populist death penalty rhetoric and listen to their own experts to prevent and end sexual violence against women, Human Rights Watch said in a video released today. Experts on sexual violence from…
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(New York) – South Asian governments should disregard populist death penalty rhetoric and listen to their own experts to prevent and end sexual violence against women, Human Rights Watch said in a video released today. Experts on sexual violence from…
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Emergency Measure Targets Muslim Women

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has ordered a ban on face coverings in public as one of a number of emergency measures imposed following the Easter Sunday bombings that killed more than 250 people and injured hundreds. The ban…
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Failure to Meet Pledges on Accountability, Counterterrorism Reforms

(Geneva) – The Sri Lankan government has failed to fulfill its pledge to abolish the abusive Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. For decades, the PTA has been used to arbitrarily detain…
Sri Lankan police stand guard at a protest calling for the release of Tamil activists being held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act in Colombo, Sri Lanka, October 14, 2015.
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Draft Law Falls Far Short of Colombo’s Pledges to United Nations

(New York) – Sri Lanka’s latest counterterrorism bill falls far short of the government’s pledges to the United Nations Human Rights Council to end abusive detention without charge, Human Rights Watch said today. The Cabinet approved the…
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Bodes Ill for Performance at Human Rights Council

If there were any doubt where women’s issues rank in the Sri Lanka government’s list of priorities, it was laid to rest last week in Geneva. When the Sri Lanka delegation appeared before the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination…
A woman walks past a cooking fire along a road during Eid al-Fitr in Colombo, Sri Lanka, August 8, 2013.
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Consultations Highlight Broad Accountability Concerns

(New York) – Sri Lanka’s government should promptly implement recommendations on transitional justice proposed by the Consultation Task Force (CTF) in a report released on January 3, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. The report reflects the first broad…
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2013 brought many grim setbacks, yet there were still some important signs of progress

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…
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19 Sri Lankans, Including 6 Women, at Grave Risk of Torture if Returned

(Beirut) – United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities should not deport 19 Tamil refugees to Sri Lanka because they would be at serious risk of torture and persecution upon return. The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has recognized all 19 as refugees,…
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Sri Lankan security forces have been using rape and other forms of sexual violence to torture suspected members or supporters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). While widespread rape in custody occurred during the armed conflict that ended in…
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"We Will Teach You a Lesson" Sexual Violence against Tamils by Sri Lankan Security Forces Map of Sri Lanka Summary Key Recommendations Methodology…
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Rizana Nafeek was a child herself -- 17 years old according to her birth certificate -- when a four-month-old baby died in her care in Saudi Arabia. She had migrated from Sri Lanka only weeks earlier to be a domestic worker for a Saudi family. Although…
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Beheading May Be Imminent for Rizana Nafeek, Age 17 at Alleged Killing

UPDATE: On January 9, 2013, the Saudi Ministry of Interior announced the execution of Rizana Nafeek, a Sri Lankan domestic worker convicted of killing a baby in her care in 2005 when she was 17 years old. Human Rights Watch strongly condemns the execution…
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Further Labor Reforms Needed to Stop Abuses, Meet Global Standards

(New York) – The decision by Singapore’s Manpower Ministry to grant foreign domestic workers a weekly rest day is an important reform but falls short of international standards, Human Rights Watch said today. The changes, announced on March 5, 2012, go…
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Being forced into domestic servitude is one of the most common forms of human trafficking. Yet it remains one of the most invisible, including meager media coverage and law enforcement efforts. On June 27, the US State Department released its Trafficking…
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Letter to the Governments of Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka

To the Governments of Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka, In the wake of recent cases of alleged abuse against Indonesian and Sri Lankan migrant domestic workers employed in Saudi Arabia, we write to urge your governments to ensure a timely and…