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Member States Should Disregard Government’s Baseless Claims

(Geneva) – The United Nations Human Rights Council should maintain its rigorous scrutiny of Sri Lanka’s worsening human rights situation and press for genuine improvements, Human Rights Watch said today. At the Council’s upcoming session, which…
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Rights Groups Express Concern Over Sri Lankan Police Abuses

(London) – The Scottish government should provide details of a review of Police Scotland training for Sri Lankan police, Human Rights Watch, Freedom from Torture, the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, and Pax Christi Scotland said in a letter…
Sri Lankan police officers patrol a Muslim neighborhood after the Easter Sunday bombings, Colombo, April 26, 2019.
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Suspend International Assistance to Abusive Law Enforcement Agencies

(New York) – Sri Lanka’s police are increasingly killing and abusing people under cover of the Covid-19 pandemic measures and an anti-drug campaign, Human Rights Watch said today. Recent police abuses reported in the media include alleged…
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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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Repeal Prevention of Terrorism Act to Meet International Commitments

(New York) – The Sri Lankan government’s pardon of 16 prisoners convicted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), however welcome, does not address the urgent need to repeal the draconian law, Human Rights Watch said today. The European…
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's addresses parliament in Colombo, Sri Lanka, August 20, 2020.
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Government Seeks to Absolve Allies for Abuses, Prosecute Officials Pursuing Justice

(New York) – Sri Lanka’s parliament should reject a resolution to exonerate officials implicated in human rights abuses and to prosecute police and prosecutors investigating them, Human Rights Watch said today. Adopting the resolution, brought before…
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Concerns of Government Retaliation Against Rights Advocates

(New York) – The United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka is a victory for victims of abuses to help them obtain information, accountability, and justice, Human Rights Watch said today. The UN and member countries should emphasize…
In this April 6, 2015, file photo, Sri Lankan ethnic Tamil women sit holding placards with portraits of their missing relatives as they protest out side a railway station in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
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Withdraw Expansion of Notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act

(New York) – Sri Lanka’s government should immediately withdraw an order that allows two-years of detention without trial for causing “religious, racial, or communal disharmony,” Human Rights Watch said today. The Prevention of Terrorism (De-…
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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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Report Highlights Need for Strong Human Rights Council Resolution

(Geneva) – The United Nations Human Rights Council, at its upcoming session, should act on the recommendations of the UN high commissioner for human rights, Human Rights Watch said today. The council should adopt a new resolution to enhance scrutiny…
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Long-Term Housing, Care Urgently Needed

(Brussels) – Bosnian authorities should immediately provide adequate, winterized accommodation for migrants and asylum seekers stranded in freezing temperatures in the northwestern part of the country, Human Rights Watch said today. After a fire…
Migrants warm their hands above a fire at the Lipa camp, outside Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Monday, January 11, 2021. The camp was closed on December 23, 2020 and destroyed in a fire the same day. 
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Baseless Public Health Claims Smokescreen for Persecuting Minority

(New York) – Sri Lanka’s requirement to cremate anyone who dies from Covid-19 goes against public health guidance and discriminates against the Muslim community, Human Rights Watch said today. The government’s spurious argument that burial in…
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Crackdown on Critics, Disregard for Accountability

(New York) – Sri Lanka’s human rights situation has seriously deteriorated under the administration of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2021. Government security forces have increased intimidation…
Inmates protest on the roof a prison building calling for speedier judicial processes and increased protection amid rising cases of Covid-19, Colombo, Sri Lanka, November 18, 2020.
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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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Police, Judicial Officers Should End Arbitrary Arrests, Torture of LGBT People

(Colombo) – Sri Lankan authorities have subjected at least seven people to forced physical examinations since 2017 in an attempt to provide proof of homosexual conduct, Human Rights Watch and EQUAL GROUND said today. The exams, which include forced…
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Parliamentary Elections Heighten Fears of Renewed Crackdown

(New York) – The Sri Lankan government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is waging a campaign of fear and intimidation against human rights activists, journalists, lawyers, and others challenging government policy, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the independence day celebrations in Colombo, February 4, 2020.
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Government Critic, Lawyer Detained

(New York) – Sri Lankan authorities should uphold due process rights and ensure that recently detained Muslim figures have proper access to lawyers, Human Rights Watch said today. The arrests, soon after the government adopted a Covid-…
Sri Lankan police officers patrol a Muslim neighborhood after the Easter Sunday bombings, Colombo, April 26, 2019.
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Presidential Pardon Shows Rajapaksa’s Indifference to Army Atrocities

(New York) – Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s pardon of a soldier convicted of massacring eight civilians, including children, shows the administration’s disregard for justice for the worst abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, center, sings the national anthem during an event to mark the anniversary of country's independence from British colonial rule in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
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Rights Activists, Journalists Facing Surveillance, Threats

(New York) – Sri Lankan security agencies are stepping up surveillance, harassment, and threats against human rights activists and journalists, Human Rights Watch said today. Since November 2019, when the government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa…
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, center attends an event to mark the anniversary of country's independence from British colonial rule in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020.
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Rajapaksa Government Should Uphold Commitments to UN Rights Council

(New York) – Sri Lankan security forces and intelligence agencies have intensified surveillance and threats against families of victims of enforced disappearance and activists supporting them since Gotabaya Rajapaksa became president in…
A woman holds a picture of a missing relative at a protest calling for investigations into enforced disappearances, Colombo, Sri Lanka, February 14, 2020.