Withdraw the Emergency Regulation and the Prevention of Terrorism Act




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NESOHR Press Release

22 August 2005

Withdraw the Emergency Regulation (ER) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA)

Reintroduction of the Emergency Regulation in parliament this month is reminding the Tamils of past large-scale human violations against them that went on for two decades unnoticed by the world.  This is causing fear among the Tamils in Sri Lanka.  Events of recent times are fuelling this fear.

The increased military presence in Trincomalee continues in spite of protest by Tamils.  More recently, masked people riding motorbikes have reappeared in Trincomalee.  In Colombo house-to-house searches in Tamil homes have begun.  Tamil youths are being arrested again in Colombo for trivial reasons like failing to carry their identity card.  More than three thousand (3000) arrests have been made in Mathale since July 1st.

The PTA (Act No:48 of 1979) has continued to be in force even through the three and a half years the ceasefire. This PTA is itself a serious human rights violation.  In the past, the ER and PTA together have facilitated large-scale human rights violations by the military, paramilitary and unauthorised agents.  The government carried out murders, kidnapings, and arrests by often unidentified persons using these two regulations.

The reintroduction of the ER, which was allowed to lapse after the ceasefire due to lack of votes after it had been in force for more than 25 years, has therefore paved way for the re-enactment of this cruel past. 

Through these two regulations the government is planning not only to get hunt and destroy those who break the law, but also intellectuals, journalists and well-wishers among the Tamils as in the past.

We call upon the international community, including the international human rights community, to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government to withdraw the ER and the PTA immediately.  We fear that these two pieces of legislation in force together will lead to more large-scale human rights violations against the Tamil people.


Posted August 26, 2005