US human rights report notes significant issues in Sri Lanka in 2019

The annual US human rights report has noted significant issues in Sri Lanka in 2019.

The annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2019 released by Us Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, noted that in Sri Lanka there were significant human rights issues last year.

The report notes the issues included unlawful killings by the Government, torture by Government agents, sexual abuse, arbitrary detention by Government entities, restrictions on freedom of expression, including unjustified arrests of journalists and authors, and limited social media blocking, widespread corruption, violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons, and the criminalization of same-sex sexual conduct.

The report notes that often the police reportedly harassed civilians, often with impunity, although the Government took steps to investigate and prosecute some officials who committed human rights abuses.

The report also notes the Government did not implement a mechanism to hold accountable military and security personnel accused of atrocities during the 1983 to 2009 civil war as called for in 2015 by UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Resolution 30/1.

The report says lack of accountability for conflict-era abuses persisted, including with regards to military, paramilitary, police, and other security-sector officials implicated in cases involving the alleged targeted killing of parliamentarians and abductions and suspected killings of journalists and private citizens.

Civil society organizations asserted the Government and the courts were reluctant to act against security forces for conflict-era offenses.

The report says although the Government took steps to investigate and prosecute some officials who had allegedly committed human rights abuses, it failed to secure any convictions. (Colombo Gazette)

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