Sri Lankan Government Criticized to Introduce Minor Amendments to the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 1979
Sri Lanka and Human Rights Researcher,
Global Human Rights Defence.
Ahead of the 49th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) stated to start at the end of February, Foreign Minister Peiris briefed the international community on the steps adopted by Sri Lanka to protect the human rights of its citizens (Economy Next, 2022). The briefing covered the amendments on the restrictive provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 1979 (PTA) (Economy Next, 2022). However, the government is severely criticized for introducing minor amendments instead of repealing the restrictive and abusive Act (Economy Next, 2022).
Particularly, the International Commission of Jurists criticized the government on Clause 2 of the Act that reduces the detention period from 18 months to 12 months (Tamil Guardian, 2022). It fails to address the fundamental human right of the detainees to be held without charges (Tamil Guardian, 2022). Furthermore, the problematic nature of Clause 10 subsection 2, which allows authorities to keep the suspects in remand until the end of the trial with an order from the High Court, was highlighted (Tamil Guardian, 2022). With the PTA being grossly abused to deny minority communities their fundamental rights, it is imperative for the UNHRC to ensure that the measure of amendments are not accepted and the Sri Lankan government is pressurized to repeal the Act.
Sources and further reading:
Economy Next (2022, January 28). Sri Lanka foreign minister briefs diplomats ahead of tough UNHRC session. Economy Next. https://economynext.com/sri-lanka-foreign-minister-briefs-diplomats-ahead-of-tough-unhrc-session-89963/
Tamil Guardian (2022, February 1). The Prevention of Terrorism Act cannot be reformed; it must be repealed - International Commission of Jursist. Tamil Guardian. https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/prevention-terrorism-act-cannot-be-reformed-it-must-be-repealed-international-commission