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Sri Lanka: 'Chilling' emergency regulations must not lead to further human rights violations

© AFP via Getty Images

Authorities have carried out arrests of largely peaceful demonstrators since anti-government protests erupted

‘The emergency regulations give sweeping powers to the police and the armed forces’ - Thyagi Ruwanpathirana

Responding to the Sri Lankan government’s announcement today of new emergency regulations as a new president was voted into office in the country, Thyagi Ruwanpathirana, Amnesty International’s South Asia Regional Researcher, said:

“The emergency regulations brought into operation in the name of public security should not become a pretext for more human rights violations.

“Amnesty is very concerned such regulations will serve as a springboard for a further crackdown on people's fundamental freedoms.

“The emergency regulations give sweeping powers to the police and the armed forces to search and make arrests of ‘suspects’ without due process safeguards.

“Detainees can be kept in custody for up to 72 hours without being produced before a magistrate and guaranteed access to lawyers, heightening the risk of detainees being subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.

“Such emergency regulations have a chilling effect on society. It’s time for the authorities in Sri Lanka to stand with the people and not repeat the mistakes of the past.”

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