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Sri Lanka: Torture still a major problem, according to rights groups

last updated Nov 08, 2011

A number of human rights groups have submitted information to the UN Committee against Torture criticising ongoing practices of torture in Sri Lanka. The CAT is due to examine Sri Lankan compliance with international humanitarian law.

Amnesty International (AI) accuses the government of failing to investigate torture. According to the human rights organisation there are consistent patterns of torture and a widespread culture of impunity. Sri Lanka has laws explicitly prohibiting torture but there seems to be a great lack of means of implementation. The Special Investigation Unit of the police has proved to be ineffective and only very few allegations of torture ever go to trial.

Furthermore, the AI documents show that gender-based violence, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings continue to persist. The human rights group urges the government to immediately reform its criminal justice system and guarantee independent and prompt investigations of torture allegations.

The UK charity Freedom From Torture has also submitted documents containing medical evidence that torture in Sri Lanka continues despite the end of the 26-year civil war in 2009. Many of the torture victims treated by Freedom From Torture belong to the defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Freedom From Torture urges the UK government to halt any deportations of members of the LTTE to Sri Lanka emphasising the current situation still poses a great risk of being subjected to torture and persecution.

AI News: Sri Lanka: Urgent need to prosecute security agents involved in torture

Guardian: Charity hands UN file to back Sri Lankan torture claims

Sri Lanka country profile