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European Union Should Be Clear That Systemic Violations, Impunity Have Consequences

(Brussels) –  The European Union should publicly set out a clear framework with short timelines for Sri Lanka to comply with its human rights commitments and retain tariff-free access to the EU market, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the…
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Incidents Highlight Abusive Prevention of Terrorism Act

As the Sri Lankan government was assuring foreign diplomats of its commitment to human rights, the country’s minister for prisons was on a drunken, armed rampage in two prisons, some 200 kilometers apart.   On Sunday, Lohan Ratwatte reportedly…
Prison guards at the main entrance of Welikada prison in Colombo, Sri Lanka, November 2019.
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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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Crimean Tatar Leader Arrested on Bogus Criminal Charges

In today’s Crimea, to be a member of the Crimean Tatar community is to be a target for the authorities. In the early hours of September 4, Russia’s security services raided the house of Nariman Dzhelyal, a deputy chairman of the Crimean Tatar…
Nariman Dzhelyal in Crimea in 2019. 
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The U.S. has sent considerable military assistance to Ukraine. That aid needs to be linked to human rights concerns.

When Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has his first meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on August 30, he will be looking for reassurances and commitment from Washington. The U.S. has been a close supporter of Ukraine and has in recent years…
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky looks on during a press conference in the garden of the Mariinsky Palace in Kyiv, May 22, 2020.
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Campaign of Intimidation, Blocking Legal Remedies

As the world prepares to mark the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, justice is further away than ever in Sri Lanka. Despite calls for answers over many years, the government has prevented families of the disappeared from…
A group of women holding black-and-white photos of men
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Jailed Journalist’s Health Deteriorates After Alleged Torture in Custody

The health of a Ukrainian journalist in custody in Simferopol on the Crimean peninsula is reported to be deteriorating, following alleged torture by Russian security services. Vladyslav Yesypenko, a freelance journalist who covered environmental…
A man holds a placard that says "Journalism is Not a Crime" and "#FreeYesypenko"
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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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To Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Scotland

Dear Justice Secretary Brown, We are writing on behalf of four human rights organisations for clarity about the current status of Police Scotland’s longstanding arrangement to train the Sri Lankan police. The situation in Sri Lanka has deteriorated…
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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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Release Hejaaz Hizbullah and Others Denied Due Process under Abusive Law

Joint Statement  July 28, 2021 (New York) – Human Rights Watch joined 10 other organizations on July 28, 2021 in issuing the following statement seeking the release of the lawyer and activist Hejaaz Hizbullah and others held under Sri Lanka’s…
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We are writing to you on behalf of Brandix to clarify our stance on the article published on Human Rights Watch titled ‘Sri Lanka: Protect Garment Workers’ Rights During Pandemic’. We would like the opportunity to provide clarity for the statements made…
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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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Grave Medical Concerns for Detained Women

(Kyiv) – Russia-backed armed groups in eastern Ukraine are torturing and ill-treating people in custody, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch has obtained new information about several women being held by the “Donetsk people’s republic” (…
© 2016 Human Rights Watch cover illustration with two men tied up
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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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Leaders Show Little Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

Last week, an appeals panel of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) upheld the 2017 genocide conviction of Bosnian Serb wartime military commander Ratko Mladić. Chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz said of Mladić, “His name…
A woman among the graves of victims of the Srebrenica genocide, at the memorial cemetery in Potocari, near Srebrenica, Tuesday, June 8, 2021.
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Resolution Calls for Measures to Address Mounting Abuses

The European Parliament today sent a powerful message to Sri Lanka’s government that its growing human rights violations will no longer be tolerated and may jeopardize bilateral and trade relations. The resolution draws attention to abuses under…
A Sri Lankan woman holds a portrait of a relative who went missing, during a protest in Colombo, Sri Lanka,  February 14, 2020.
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Limit Powers, Address Human Rights Concerns

(Berlin) – Ukraine’s parliament should not squander the opportunity presented by the current commitment to reform of Ukraine’s security service (SSU), and instead should address shortcomings in the reform proposals, 23 civil society groups including…
Lawmakers attend a parliament session in Kiev, Ukraine December 21, 2017.
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To: President Volodymyr Zelensky, Cc: MPs (Mariana Volodymirivna Bezuhla, Oleksandr Serhiyovych Kornienko, Davyd Heorhiyovych Arakhamia) Dear Mr. President,  Dear Members of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, We, the co-signatories of this…
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Law Could Strengthen Effective Prosecution of War Crimes

(Kyiv) A bill adopted by Ukraine’s parliament on May 20, 2021, could help authorities prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity domestically, Human Rights Watch said today. The law, On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts on the…
Lawmakers attend a parliament session in Kiev, Ukraine December 21, 2017.