State of emergency must respect human rights – Amnesty

The amnesty international has stated that the local authorities must respect human rights of each individual of the society in a statement made on the 6th of March. A state of emergency was declared following two incidents which led to communal riots in the city of Kandy days after the attack in Ampara. 

“It is important that the authorities take action against mobs who have incited hatred and carried out acts of violence against religious minorities. They have a duty to protect vulnerable groups and hold the perpetrators accountable. But a state of emergency must not become a pretext for further human rights abuses,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

The state of emergency gives the authorities sweeping powers, including searching, arresting, and detaining potential suspects. This was enforced amidst the fears that violence against members of the Muslim minority may spread to different parts of the country.

However, the Prime minister stated yesterday that security forces and reinforcements were deployed to neutralize any possible outcomes by the extremists. He further stated that the state of the country is relatively calm.

“While it is positive that the government wishes to prevent further violence, any steps taken to address the problem, however, must meet Sri Lanka’s obligations under international human rights law, including the absolute prohibition on torture, unfair trials and arbitrary detention,” further stated Biraj Patnaik.

- Feron Jayawardene

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