UN Committee Against Torture Concluding Observations on Sri Lanka


Key Points:
 – The UN Committee Against Torture is calling for an independent mechanism to investigate allegations of torture and sexual violence in the “rehabilitation” programme for 12,000+ suspected former cadres. (paragraph 26).
– The Committee says allegations of unlawful detention, torture and sexual violence by security forces in Sri Lanka should be investigated by an independent body.
– the Committee devotes 2 paragraphs (13 and 49) to Mr Sisira Mendis. The Committee says it was alarmed at the presence of Mendis in Geneva and “deeply regrets” that he and the delegation did not answer questions raised with him during the session in Geneva.  An extract of the video of Felice Gaer directing questions at Mr Mendis: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=G3TMXeXd57c
– the Committee says torture is a common practice in Sri Lanka (para 9).
– the Committee cites credible reports indicating white van abductions continued post war (para 11), referencing ITJP’s 48 identified torture sites (from 2015 report available at http://www.itjpsl.com/repor ts/silenced-report), cites the rape of men as well as women, and cites GOSL’s failure to clarify if or how it investigated recent allegations of torture.
– the Committee called for revision of the Witness Protection Act – saying the protection authority needs to be independent of police.
– Trincomalee Torture site in the naval base: the Committee raised the issue of investigating this site (paragraph 24b).
– the Committee addresses the issue of sexual abuse of children by Sri Lankan peacekeepers for UN (paragraphs 41, 42), along with the vetting of peacekeepers not just for their role in Haiti but in Sri Lanka itself.

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