Sri Lankan authorities have fiercely clamped down on peaceful protests and antagonized protestors during the island’s worst economic crisis and hardship details Amnesty International in a new digest published today.
The briefing, Penalized for Protesting: Sri Lanka’s crackdown on protestors, outlines Sri Lankan security state forces' failure to protect protestors, their use of excessive force, their use of the military to police protests, carrying out reprisals against protesters and targeting those who exercise their rights democratically.
“The Sri Lankan authorities have repeatedly and unrelentingly stifled the voice of the people,” said Yamini Mishra, Amnesty International’s South Asia Regional Director.
“The new government in Sri Lanka has continued resorting to the unlawful use of force, intimidation and harassment to subdue protestors, sending a chilling message to the people of Sri Lanka that there is no room for dissent. The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is a keystone of any rights-respecting society. It must be respected and protected.”
Sri Lanka has an extensive track record of using a militarized approach to police protests, particularly in the Northern Province, says the briefing. Families of the disappeared in the Tamil-populated Northern Province have been continuously protesting for truth and justice for over 2,000 days and have been subject to intimidation, and surveillance, by the police and armed forces, to prevent them from peacefully protesting.