Making its commendation to the on going 112th session of the UN Human Rights Committee, the Amnesty International has emphasized the need for effective mechanisms and procedures to ensure the transparent and effective implementation of the recommendations to Sri Lanka by UN Treaty Bodies, including the Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee.
It further says that Sri Lanka should ”Cooperate fully with the UN Special Procedures including by responding positively to the outstanding visit requests by the the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of expression; the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers and by providing them with full access to the country . Extend a standing invitation to the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council as a signal of Sri Lanka’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights.”
Amnesty International recommends that the Sri Lanka authorities should:
National human rights framework
Stop all political interference with the independence of the judiciary, and take legislative and policy measures to ensure a transparent process for the appointment and oversight of judges in line with the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary.
Repeal the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which compromises the political independence of key institutions necessary for the protection of human rights.
Ensure the independence of the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission.
Implement all court rulings including Supreme Court decisions in fundamental rights cases and writs of habeas corpus, ordering the release of detainees without delay.
Cooperate fully with the UN Special Procedures including by responding positively to the outstanding visit requests by the the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of expression; the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers and by providing them with full access to the country .
Extend a standing invitation to the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council as a signal of Sri Lanka’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights.
Put in place effective mechanisms and procedures to ensure the transparent and effective implementation of the recommendations to Sri Lanka by UN Treaty Bodies, including the Concluding Observations of this Committee.
Violence against Women
Publicly acknowledge the scale and gravity of the problem of torture and sexual abuse by the Sri Lankan forces and make public commitments to bring perpetrators to justice.Ensure that clear rules are in place which prohibit violence against women, including sexual violence, by all state actors and require all police and military personnel, including commanding officers, to undergo mandatory training.
Take measures to prevent, investigate, prosecute and remedy acts of rape Sri Lanka Submission to the UN Human Rights Committee, 112th session and sexual violence.
Ensure that women who are subjected to violence have access justice and reparation.
Repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act and abolish the system of administrative detention.
Ensure that all security measures adopted, including (but not restricted to) any emergency regulation enacted and all anti-terrorism legislation comply with international human rights law, and contain clear prohibitions against arbitrary arrest and detention, as well as protections against torture, and provisions designed to protect the rights to freedom of expression and association for all Sri Lankans.
Release all individuals arrested under emergency or anti-terrorism laws,unless they are charged with recognizable criminal offences and remanded by an independent, regularly constituted court. Any trials must be held promptly and in regularly constituted courts with all internationally recognized safeguards provided .Torture and arbitrary detention
Ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Strengthen legal safeguards for eliminating all forms of ill-treatment or torture in prisons and detention centres in line with the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment following his visit in 2007.
Ensure the prompt and fair investigation of allegations of torture or other ill-treatment, including those in secret detention centres, by an independent authority different from the authority investigating or prosecuting the case against the alleged victim.
Enforce administrative and penal sanctions against agents of the government that have been found guilty of perpetrating or otherwise sanctioning torture or other forms of ill-treatment against detainees. Ensure the burden of proof in all allegations of torture or other ill-treatment shifts from the victim to the prosecution.
Enforce all laws, regulations and directives aimed at preventing torture and abuse of detainees, including provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act, the Convention against Torture Act and Presidential Directives on Protecting Fundamental Rights of Persons Arrested and/or Detained, and ensure police and all relevant security officials are fully trained to be aware of this framework and that those who are in breach are appropriately disciplined.
Ensure that victims of torture and other forms of ill-treatment are provided with full and effective reparation, including restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.
Ensure that all detainees are guaranteed prompt and unimpeded access to legal counsel in pre-trial detention and while on trial, including having a lawyer present during interrogation by police.
Release all detainees, including all persons held in detention centres, “rehabilitation” facilities and all other places of detention unless they are charged with internationally recognizable crimes and tried in full conformity with international standards for fair trial and without recourse to the death penalty.
Immediately end all use of incommunicado detention, including by closing all unofficial and secret places of detention and enact legislation to making it illegal to detain anyone in any place other than an officially recognized detention facility accessible to families, lawyers and courts, as well as independent monitors.
Extrajudicial executions and deaths in custody
Investigate and prosecute all allegations of extrajudicial,summary or arbitrary killings and bring the perpetrators to justice in accordance with international standards, in line with commitments made during the previous review but not yet implemented.
Ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance without making any reservation or declaration amounting to reservation, to recognize the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances to receive and consider communications from or on behalf of victims, and to implement the Convention into national law.
Facilitate without delay the visit requested by the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.
Investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible for enforced disappearances, in accordance with international norms and in a transparent manner, in line with commitments made during the previous reviews but not yet implemented.
Ensure the rights of families to know the whereabouts or fate of disappeared persons by ensuring that the Presidential Commission on Disappearance and all other bodies tasked with investigating enforced disappearances are adequately resourced and can operate independently and with effective witness protection.
Abolish the death penalty and commute all death sentences to terms of imprisonment.
Cooperate with the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) mandated to undertake investigations into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties to the conflict.
Accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association
Ensure the protection of the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association of all individual and groups, regardless of their opinions or political affiliation, and investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of harassment, intimidation and attacks against those exercising these rights;
Guarantee and protect the right to peaceful assembly of the Tamil minority, including social organizing to peacefully advocate for justice or commemorate the victims of the conflict.
End the abusive use of PTA or other legislation to discriminatorily restrict the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association.
The rights of minorities
Take measures to prevent and stop all attacks against Christian and Muslim minorities, including attacks on their places of worship and businesses.
Properly investigate all reported incidents of violence against ethnic and religious minorities, including those perpetrated by nationalist groups such as Bodu Bala Sena, and, where there is sufficient admissible evidence of criminal conduct, prosecute those suspected in accordance with international standards of due process.