Guarantee of transitional justice in Sri Lanka at risk

The sudden appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister in October, and the ensuing constitutional crisis, means that human rights and guarantees of transitional justice in Sri Lanka may be in peril for the future, Amnesty International said.

In its annual human rights report, Amnesty said that in Sri Lanka and Nepal, progress was slow on commitments to truth, justice and reparations for past violations. Both Governments also tried to impose new restrictions on NGOs, but backed down after objections from civil society groups, Amnesty International said.

The report also noted that religious bigotry raised its ugly head in Sri Lanka in March, when hardline Buddhist monks incited violence against Muslims in the city of Kandy, in the island’s central hills, and in Ampara in the east.

Muslim homes and businesses were set alight. The government imposed a state of emergency, shutting down social media sites that were used as platforms to inflame the riots.

The report also noted that in July, President Maithripala Sirisena said that he would bring back the death penalty to punish drug traffickers, more than four decades after Sri Lanka last executed anyone.

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