Ben Emmerson, the Special Reporter on the “promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism", spoke to the media at the end of his four day visit.
He has met and discussed with the prime minister Ranil Wickramasinge, heads of the armed forces, the Attorney General as well as those detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).
“The Government has thus far done almost nothing to hold to account those members of the armed forces and security services who committed gross human rights violations during and since the conflict. At the same time, it has, until now, continued to operate the cruel and unjust PTA system, a system that has overwhelmingly impacted on the Tamil minority. These are precisely the conditions likely to produce festering grievances, to foster unrest and even to reignite conflict,” Emmerson said.
He identified the continued use of torture of those detained under the PTA as well as the Government to repeal the controversial counter terrorism law as the two gravest issues.
“The progress of this legislation to date has been painfully slow, and this has, in turn, delayed the wider package of transitional justice measures that Sri Lanka committed to deliver two years ago. It is difficult to resist the conclusion that this inertia reflects the continuing influence of certain vested interests in the security sector, who are resistant to change, and above all, to accountability,” he added.
As well as Ben Emmerson will present a comprehensive report containing his findings and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in March 2018.