Sri Lanka on Sunday dismissed a US report that questioned the human rights record of its police and security forces, saying that the situation in the island nation is “better than most of the countries with five star democracies”.
Colombo’s reaction came after the State Department report alleged that “a number of suspects detained by police or other security forces died under questionable circumstances, there were several instances in which police were held accountable for unlawful killings”.
The report also cited that the Asian Human Rights Council (AHRC) had compiled 1500 cases of police torture between 1998 and 2001.
As of October 2011, the AHRC had received 102 reports of police torture.
Responding to the accusations, Lankan police spokesperson, Ajith Rohana told reporters that the police categorically rejects all charges.
Rohana said that Sri Lanka had adopted the Convention against torture and cruel inhuman or degrading Act in 1994.
“For the last 18 years, only five policemen had been found guilty, not even one per year. This rate is better than most of the countries with five star democracies”, Rohana said.
“There has not been a single case of disappearances after police arrest. People have legal redress for any such happening,” the spokesman said.
He said those arrested under Prevention of Terrorism Act from the former battle zones in the north and east were handled by three separate units.
In response to accusations that detainee information had not been made available, Rohana said such information has been released to the close relatives of the detainees.
On the charges of police assault at times of arrest, Rohana said that police may have used force when resisted arrest.
These incidents cannot be classified under torture and such cases are grossly exaggerated, he said.
“We have educated all policemen about international conventions and human rights. Training entails such awareness including legal positions,” Rohana said. PTI