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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Sri Lanka: Follow-up to the recommendations by the Special Rapporteur on Torture

Follow-up to the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur (Manfred Nowak) in the report of his visit to Sri Lanka from 1 to 8 October 2007

107. By letter dated 12 October 2010, the Special Rapporteur sent the table below to the Government of Sri Lanka, requesting information and comments on the follow-up measures taken with regard to the implementation of his recommendations. The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government has not provided him with a response to the request. He looks forward to receiving information on its endeavours to implement the recommendations and affirms that he stands ready to assist Sri Lanka in its efforts to prevent and combat torture and ill-treatment.
108. The Special Rapporteur is concerned that despite the end of the armed conflict between the Government of Sri Lank and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Government continues to apply the emergency regulations allowing arbitrary arrest and detention, prolonged and incommunicado detention, and torture. He calls upon the Government to repeal the emergency regulations and take steps to end impunity for members of the TMVP-Karuna group, who, according to non-governmental sources, continue to enjoy immunity as members of Parliament despite their alleged involvement in nlawful killings, recruitment of child soldiers and enforced disappearances, continue to enjoy immunity as a member of the Parliament.
109. The Special Rapporteur further welcomes the determination of the Government to combat torture or extra-judicial executions as noted in the Responses of the Government to the UPR Recommendations24 and urges the Government to strengthen its efforts addressed to preventing torture and extrajudicial executions, to ensure that detainees have access to legal counsel, and that they are provided with timely medical examination. The Special Rapporteur remains concerned about information received from non-governmental sources about the reported practice of pressuring victims of torture to “settle” their cases by withdrawing their complaint. He urges the Government to ensure that all detainees are granted the ability to challenge the lawfulness of the detention before an independent court.
110. The Special Rapporteur notes the information regarding the confusing procedure of handling the investigation of allegations of torture and ill-treatment. In this onnection, he urges the Government to ensure the establishment and effective functioning of an independent authority to carry out investigations into allegations of torture and that the National Human Rights Commission has sufficient resources and capacity to function independently and effectively.
111. The Special Rapporteur notes with satisfaction the amendment to the Regulation of May 2010, according to which the detention of a person under the Emergency Regulation is subject to notification to a Magistrate within 72 hours. He was encouraged that the Emergency Regulations enabling the admissibility of confessions were repealed in 2010.
However, he is alarmed about the reports of the use of confession in cross examination. He calls upon the Government to ensure that any testimony obtained under torture is excluded from judicial proceedings. He encourages the Government to amend the Criminal Procedural Code to shift the burden of proof in cases of torture to the prosecution.
112. The Special Rapporteur looks forward to receiving information in relation to the implementation of a draft Law on Witness and Victims of Crime Protection. He wishes to call upon the Government to establish rehabilitation centres for the treatment of torture survivors.
113. Finally, the Special Rapporteur wishes to reiterate the appeal to the Government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) and establish a National Preventive Mechanism
24 Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, A/HRC/8/46/Add.1, Sri Lanka.
Addendum, 25 August 2008.
read full report here


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