Freedom from Torture - UN Special Rapporteur describes 'endemic and routine' torture in Sri Lanka

UN Special Rapporteur describes 'endemic and routine' torture in Sri Lanka

Freedom from Torture welcomes the statements of concern expressed by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, Ben Emmerson, at the end of his mission to Sri Lanka.

Earlier today, at a press conference to mark the end of his visit to Sri Lanka the UN Special Rapporteur described a situation in Sri Lanka that is sadly all too familiar for torture survivors at Freedom from Torture.

He spoke about a transitional justice process, which is meant to be holding to account those who carried out torture and other abuses, which has “ground to a virtual halt” and prevention of terrorism legislations which has “fostered the endemic and systematic use of torture. Entire communities have been stigmatised and targeted for harassment and arbitrary arrest and detention, and any person suspected of association, however indirect, with the LTTE remains at immediate risk of detention and torture.”

Ann Hannah, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Freedom from Torture said:

“Sri Lanka has continued to be the top country of origin for referrals to Freedom from Torture, despite repeated claims from the Sri Lankan government that the end of the conflict has also delivered a significant improvement in human rights across the country. The Special Rapporteur’s findings directly echo those of numerous Freedom from Torture research reports and submissions to the UN and others since the end of the conflict.

“Sri Lanka’s partners, including the UK government and the EU who recently reinstated a preferential trade agreement on the basis of the government’s commitments to improving human rights, need to do more to support security sector reform, and in particular deliver a substantive programme to dismantle the structures that allow torture to continue unabated.”

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