Sri Lanka: ICJ calls for repeal of Prevention of Terrorism Act before UN Human Rights Council

Today, the ICJ called for the repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and denounced the continuing impunity for crimes under international law in Sri Lanka before the UN Human Rights Council.

The oral statement reads as follows:

“Mr President,

The ICJ welcomes the wide-ranging report of the OHCHR. We appreciate its recognition of the heavy militarization of civilian functions, including the widespread appointment of senior military figures into positions of administrative authority and the need for independence of the Attorney General’s Department.

In the past year, the human rights situation in Sri Lanka has only deteriorated further.

The refusal by the Government to ensure accountability for crimes under international law and the release of several high- ranking military personnel suspected of such crimes indicate a continuation of systematic impunity.

Surveillance and harassment of human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, and activists have increased. Impunity for cases of enforced disappearances and intimidation of the families of the disappeared by security forces continue. Extra-judicial killings by the police have sharply risen and Tamil and Muslim prisoners have been particularly vulnerable to ill-treatment and torture in detention, in one instance committed by a State Minister. Cases of arbitrary detention have increased, and the PTA despite calls for its repeal continues in use.

The Government’s refusal to repeal the PTA and the continued impunity for violations of international law are illustrative of the Sri Lankan Government’s general unwillingness to engage in real accountability measures.

Madam High Commissioner, what further steps can OHCHR take to press the Government to fulfill its commitments to accountability?”


Massimo Frigo, ICJ UN Representative, e: massimo.frigo(a), t: +41797499949

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