Amnesty Briefing on Sri Lanka for ICCPR Review

by Amnesty International, London, October 1, 2014

Amnesty UN INT_CCPR_CSS_LKA_18252_E

Amnesty International has submitted a 40-page briefing on Sri Lanka to the U.N. Human Rights Committee in connection with the Committee’s review during this month of Sri Lanka’s fifth periodic report on its implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  The briefing can be found at


Amnesty International submits this briefing to the United Nations (UN) Human
Rights Committee (the Committee) ahead of its examination in October 2014 of Sri
Lanka’s fifth periodic report on its implementation of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR or the Covenant). This submission will focus on
selected human rights concerns raised in the Committee’s List of Issues from March
2014 and documented extensively over the reporting period. In particular this
submission features information gathered between 2012 and 2014 drawn from
interviews with survivors of human rights violations and their families who have
sought refuge outside Sri Lanka, as well as from correspondence with human rights
defenders in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government’s hostility towards human rights
monitors makes it difficult for international human rights organizations to reach out
to victims of repression and their families in Sri Lanka, who risk retaliation for
communicating with international organizations. Because of the possibility of
reprisals to family members still in Sri Lanka as well documented cases of reprisals
against returned asylum seekers, Amnesty International has withheld identifying
information, which may include names of victims or witnesses, current locations,
place names in Sri Lanka and dates or methods of communication.

Sri Lanka’s fourth periodic report was submitted in 2002, soon after a cease-fire
had been declared between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and
government forces. It was considered by the Committee in 2003. The current
report, due in 2007, was substantially delayed and was finally submitted in October
2012. It covers the nine year period from 2003 to 2012, during which major
changes occurred in the nature and scale of human rights violations and abuses as
Sri Lanka transitioned from a five year cease-fire to intensive armed conflict and
when fighting ended, to a post conflict period that continues to be characterized by
serious violations of human rights. It is disturbing to note that despite these
changes, many core concerns expressed by the Committee in its Concluding
Observations in 2003 continue to exist 11 years later, including about Sri Lanka’s
continued reliance on the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and the incompatibility
of its provisions with the Covenant; the use of torture and enforced disappearances;
and violations of freedom of expression and association.1 Amnesty International
remains deeply concerned about the persistent climate of impunity in Sri Lanka and
the weakness of domestic mechanisms to protect human rights and deliver justice;
its failure to protect minorities from violence and discrimination; and the pervasive
use of torture, including sexual violence, and extrajudicial executions against former
members of the LTTE, people with suspected links to the LTTE and their families
and individuals reportedly detained for seeking information from the authorities
about missing relatives.


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