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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.
News

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.
News

Rules Regulating Appearance Put Many Students, LGBT Teens at Risk

A recent case in Osaka, Japan, about hair color, highlights the risks of imposing social conformity. Many schools in Japan have strict policies around hair color, dress, and other appearance, and students can face harsh consequences if they fail to…
High school students wearing face masks walk in Tokyo, January 16, 2021. 
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Diplomats at the United Nations Human Rights Council don’t expect someone allegedly associated with a death squad to be among their colleagues. Yet that is the situation confronting officials in Geneva since Sri Lanka’s new permanent…
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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…
A older man in glasses clapping
News

Trip Covers Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar

(Tokyo) – Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi should forcefully raise human rights concerns on an upcoming regional trip, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the foreign minister. Motegi will visit Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Laos,…
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi meets the media in Tokyo on May 28, 2020. 
News

Japan Beverage Giant Pledges to Address Human Rights Concerns

(Tokyo) – Japan-based Kirin Holdings Company, Ltd. should end its partnership with Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. (MEHL) because of its connections to Myanmar’s abusive armed forces, Human Rights Now, Human Rights Watch, Japan Volunteer International…
Plastic crates containing Kirin brand beer at the Kirin Brewery Co. factory in Yokohama, Japan, June 2019. 
News

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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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.
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Provide Justice for Past Crimes, Prevent Future Abuses

(New York) – The winner of Sri Lanka’s presidential election on November 16, 2019 will face enormous challenges to deliver justice for past crimes and prevent future abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. Since Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in 2009,…
Sri Lanka's elections chief Mahinda Deshapriya displays ballot boxes that will be used in the upcoming presidential election in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. The voting is scheduled to be held on Nov. 16.
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Reinvigorate Commitment to Justice for Civil War Atrocities

(New York) – Sri Lankan authorities have failed to bring to justice those responsible for the execution-style killing of 17 aid workers 13 years ago, Human Right Watch said today. On August 4, 2006, alleged Sri Lankan security forces…
Candles are burned at the memorial for slain humanitarian workers from Action Contre La Faim in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, August 11, 2006.
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Keisuke Honda to Coach Cambodia National Team Under Notorious General

  (New York) – The international football star Keisuke Honda’s agreement to coach Cambodia’s national soccer team links him to a senior Cambodian official implicated in killings and alleged war crimes, Human Rights Watch said on…
Former Japan football player Keisuke Honda walks on the pitch during his debut as coach of Cambodia's national football team at a friendly match against Malaysia, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, September 10, 2018.
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Failure to Address Past Abuses Underlies Crisis

(New York) – Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision on October 26, 2018, to appoint former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as prime minister has raised fears about a return to past abusive practices in the country, Human…
Mahinda Rajapaksa speaks at UN headquarters in New York, September 22, 2010.
News

Create Consultative Process to End Military Occupation

 (New York) – The Sri Lankan government has yet to fully restore civilian ownership of land and property nearly a decade since the end of the civil war in 2009, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Progress, particularly since the…
 A Sri Lankan Tamil man holds a placard during a protest in Colombo on August 21, 2018, demanding the release of lands still occupied by the military.
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Just before and during the ongoing session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Sri Lankan authorities made several announcements to signify their commitment to pledges made in an October 2015 resolution on justice and…
Women conduct a silent protest to commemorate the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances in Colombo, August 30, 2016.
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As children across Serbia enjoy their summer break, for some children the next school year can’t start soon enough. It may be their first chance to get an education. The Serbian government formally pledged in June that all children with…
Marina  [pseudonym], a 4-year-old girl with developmental disabilities who spent ten months of her life in an institution, with her foster sister. © 2015 Jasenko Rasol for Human Rights Watch
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Time-Bound Action Plan on UN Human Rights Council Pledges Crucial

(Geneva) – The Sri Lankan government should announce a time-bound plan to carry out its pledges to the United Nations Human Rights Council since October 2015, Human Rights Watch said today. At an interim update before the Council this week…
Sri Lankan Tamil women hold up photographs of their missing family members as they wait to hand over a petition to the U.N. head office in Colombo March 13, 2013.
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On February 6, the European Commission will present its new strategy for the enlargement of the EU. People in the Western Balkans may greet the news with scepticism. But if the EU institutions and states are really willing to end the EU…
Roma refugees from Kosovo drink water at the Vrela Ribnicka camp in Podgorica, Montenegro on October 13, 2012
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Murky Money Trail, Missed Targets, Missing Data

(Beirut) – Millions of dollars in aid money pledged to get Syrian refugee children in school last year did not reach them, arrived late, or could not be traced due to poor reporting practices, Human Rights Watch said today. The 55…
Syrian children in an informal refugee camp in the Bekaa Valley.