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Covid Burial Site Already Reaching Capacity As Additional Space Confirmed

Sri Lanka Updates
1. Government Amplifies Prevention Of Terrorism Act In Sri Lanka
2. Under New PTA Regulations, 11 Muslim Groups Banned in Sri Lanka
3. Government Begins Framework For Anti-Conversion Laws
4. Unlawful PTA Allows For Detention Up To 18 Months Without Trial Or Charge In Sri Lanka
5. U.S. Congress Introduces Bipartisan Resolution On Sri Lanka To Seek Justice And Accountability 
6. Government Moves Forward With Burqa And Niqab Ban
7. Res 413 Has Been Sent To The U.S House Foreign Affairs Committee
8. European Parliament Threatens To Pull GSP+ Status If PTA Not Repealed
9. UNHRC Chief Says Government Policies Have Targeted Muslims
10. Sri Lankan President Pardons 94, Including Convicted Murderer
11. China’s Oppression Of Muslims Could Be Influencing Srilanka
12. PTA Detainee Hejaaz Hizbullah Has Been Declared A Prisoner Of Conscience
13. Threat Of Intergovernmental Militarization Looms
14. Right To Protest Under Threat As 42 Arrested
15. Rapporteur Says That De-radicalization Regulations Could Lead To Silence Of Those Who Criticize Government
16. Covid Burial Site Already Reaching Capacity As Additional Space Confirmed
17. Opposition Party Accuses President Of Becoming Authoritarian
18. UN Special Rapporteur Says PTA Detainee Hejaaz Hizbullah Has Been Wrongfully Connected To Easter 2019
19. Prison Conditions Poor, Overcrowded; Detainees Tell Stories Of Sexual Assault And Torture
20. President Rajapaksa meets with UN Secretary General Antony Guterres
21. BBS Monk Thero Makes Hateful Comments About Muslims On Television
22. India, China, And Sri Lanka Are Connected In Targeted Oppression
23. Justice Minister Sabry Says PTA Is Unlikely To Ever Be Abolished

58,000 Sri Lankan refugees are still living in refugee camps in Tamil Nadu, India. An additional 34,000 live outside of them. Most of the camps were built in 1990 and are falling apart. Last month, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin ordered officials to identify the refugees’ needs and there will now be an overhaul of them. They have identified water supply, housing, roads, and sanitation areas.

Along with refugees who still haven’t returned home, Sri Lanka has many disappearances. They have the second highest cases in the world. In the past 40 years, between 60,000 to 100,000 people have disappeared. Those of all religious and ethnic identities have been tortured, abducted, and killed by forces working for the government. Current government officials such as Parliament Leader Dinesh Gunawardena have denied the disappearances and said those people have probably just secretly moved to other countries.

Covid death tolls continue to rise as the country reached its highest death toll of 198 last Friday, August 20. As a result, a company is now making cardboard box coffins, which can hold up to 220 lbs and take 30 minutes to assemble. They also cost $22. A cheap wooden coffin is around six times more than the cardboard ones.

As previously reported, a new burial site has been chosen because Oddamavadi’s capacity of 300 had already reached its limit. Irakkamam to the east will be able to hold 2,400 of those who died to Covid-19.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed an advisory board for the Prevention of Terrorism Act which would suggest recommendations and rulings for detainees. Containing three members, it would be led by retired Chief Justice Asoka De Silva. Retired High Court Justice AAR Heiyanthuduwa and former Solicitor General Suhada Gamlath are also on the board. The purpose of the board would be to help provide legal action, work with releasing detainees, granting bail, and other duties. Having an advisory board would speed up court cases, Presidential Secretariat, Harigupta Rohanadeera said.

As the Sri Lankan government works on PTA reforms as opposed to repeals, Hejaaz Hizbullah has spent his second birthday detained. He celebrated his 41st birthday behind bars, which was his 500th day imprisoned.

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Articles:

PTA Advisory Board
Hejaaz spent his 41st birthday in prison
India to makeover Tamil Nadu’s Sri Lankan refugee camps
Families of Sri Lanka’s Forcibly Disappeared Denied Justice
Sri Lanka produces cardboard coffins amid COVID surge

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