The UK’s High Commissioner Sarah Hulton met with Sri Lankan Public Security Minister Rear Admiral…
1. Government Amplifies Prevention Of Terrorism Act In Sri Lanka
15. Rapporteur Says That De-radicalization Regulations Could Lead To Silence Of Those Who Criticize Government
18. UN Special Rapporteur Says PTA Detainee Hejaaz Hizbullah Has Been Wrongfully Connected To Easter 2019
At an April 12 news conference, State Minister of Transport Dilum Amunugama had stated that Buddhist monks wanted Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to act like Hitler and that people voted him into power expecting him to be like a dictator and get things done. He was not specific in which monks nor in what ways he should act. Government spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella responded that these were the state minister’s personal opinions and not those of the government.
As of late, the Sri Lankan government has been amplifying the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which are the de-radicalization regulations. Tamils and Muslims are among minorities mostly affected. Recently, police have been arresting anyone they deem to be connected to terrorism. On April 9th, five Tamil youth were arrested with accusations of connections to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
The Prevention of Terrorism Act allows people to be arrested on suspicion by way of words, intentions, visible representations, acts of violence, “or religious, racial, or communal disharmony or feelings of ill will or hostility between different communities or racial or religious groups.” Detainees can be held without seeing the magistrate for up to 18 months under this Act. Under rehabilitation, which is undefined, the Attorney General would oversee detainees for a minimum year-long program. Rehabilitation’s maximum period is two years and can combine with PTA’s 18 months of detainment, adding a maximum of three and a half years of total imprisonment under the Act.
De-radicalization is also undefined and left to be open to interpretation, leaving both mental and physical abuse such as torture and brainwashing available for guards to inflict.
The Sri Lankan government will also be pushing for new censorship laws that will cut out both “fake news,” and any published material that aims to discredit the government. Along with rehabilitation and de-radicalization, 11 Islamic organizations and several Tamil diaspora organizations have been banned along with the detainment of several activists. One of the Islamic groups, “Save the Pearls,” is a charity organization that seeks to support the education of underprivileged children.
What can you do?
Keep up to date on both the Prevention of Terrorism Act, and “One Country, One Law,” as these are helping the government enforce discriminative policies against minorities in Sri Lanka. Read at least two of the articles below.
Deradicalization Regulations: anti-democratic executive legislation targeting minorities and political opponents
Sri Lanka proscribes hundreds alongside Tamil diaspora organisations
Sri Lanka bans 11 Islamic organisations
India’s Foreign Minister calls on Sri Lanka to hold early elections to provincial councils
British parliamentarian calls for sanctions on Sri Lankan war criminals
India backs call for early provincial council polls in Sri Lanka
India wants Sri Lanka to hold early election to provincial councils: Jaishankar
Sri Lankan minister urges President Rajapakse to act like Hitler
Sri Lanka bans Muslim groups before Easter attacks anniversary
What is behind the anti-Muslim measures in Sri Lanka?
De-radicalisation regulations anti-democratic: Executive legislation targets minorities and opponents
Dilum Amunugama’s “Hitler” remarks draw condemnation