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Rapporteur Says That De-radicalization Regulations Could Lead To Silence Of Those Who Criticize Government

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 European Parliament Threatens To Pull GSP+ Status If PTA Not Repealed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

Sri Lankan police continue to use the pandemic as a justification of abuse and murder. There have been recent reports of torture, extrajudicial murder, and unlawful detentions.

The Committee for Protecting of Rights of Prisoners (CPRP) had written to the United Nations Special Rapporteur in June about deaths and torture of prisoners in police custody. The CPRP had asked for accountability measures to be taken. In May and June, there had been a rise of police-involved deaths. The CPRP pointed out that police have a legal obligation to protect those in their custody and if citizens lose trust in the police, they may attempt to resolve issues on their own. The group has called for police accountability and action based on criminal law.

There have been recent cases where family members of deceased have claimed police beat or shot the person to death, but police claimed they died of drug overdoses. In other situations, police have allegedly planted drugs and performed invasive body searches.

The European Parliament wrote about deaths in police custody in its June 2021 Resolution: “whereas many suspects in police custody as well as inmates in Sri Lankan prison complexes have been killed.”

Human Rights Watch has called for independent oversight of the police to investigate and prosecute those who have violated laws.

On August 9, 2021, the United Nations Special Rapporteur wrote to the government of Sri Lanka in relations to promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms while simultaneously combatting terrorism. They expressed concerns about the Prevention of Terrorism Act’s De-radicalization regulations which went into effect in March 2021. The Rapporteur has asked for the repeal of this addition as it is against Sri Lankan international legal obligations, they wrote. The Rapporteur had sent previous communications to the Sri Lankan government and had not received a response from them. They also wrote their regret that previous recommendations by the Rapporteur had not been made.

The De-radicalization regulations may allow for the impairment of fundamental freedoms. Its language is broad and vague and permits arbitrary detentions, undermines due process, and limits fundamental rights, the Rapporteur added. They emphasized the necessity of clarity in definitions of terrorism and of the law so that people’s rights are protected.

The Rapporteur also said that the De-radicalization regulations could also lead to the direct or indirect silencing of those who criticize the government. This could also lead to or account for political prisoners under the PTA. It was noted that counterterrorism legislation (no location on where) has previously been used to target human rights defenders. They concluded that this legislation harms the rights and liberties of detainees, especially those of ethnic and religious minorities and asked for its repeal.

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Mandates of the Special Rapporteur
Sri Lanka: Police Abuses Surge Amid Covid-19 Pandemic
Sri Lanka: CPRP writes to UN Special Rapporteurs on recent deaths and torture in police custody

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