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Demand Sri Lanka’s government complies with human rights standards

The government of Sri Lanka has been attacking peaceful protesters and using the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to detain, torture, and stifle demonstrators, activists and dissenters for over four decades. Now, the Sri Lankan authorities are attempting to whitewash their abuses by replacing the PTA with a new proposed law, the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). The ATA is just as dangerous to the Sri Lankan people and must be dropped or substantially revised in line with international standards.

The people of Sri Lanka are bearing the brunt of a collapsing economy. Government corruption and impunity have imperiled lives and livelihoods, and squandered the country’s resources. In March 2022, Sri Lankans across the country responded with protests and calls for accountability.

The Sri Lankan government responded to these largely peaceful protests with excessive and unnecessary force and used a draconian anti-terror law, the PTA, to crack down on protesters. Now they are attempting to whitewash their abuses by advancing replacement legislation that flouts human rights obligations. 

People in Sri Lanka have the right to take peaceful action and make their voices heard. The United States must use all diplomatic means to ensure the government of Sri Lanka protects the right to peaceful protest and refrains from detaining peaceful demonstrators, student activists and journalists (among others).

The PTA has been used for over four decades to enable prolonged arbitrary detention, extract false confessions through torture, and target minority communities and political dissidents in Sri Lanka. If the replacement ATA becomes law, it would allow authorities to continue this long-standing pattern of abuse. We can’t allow these human rights violations to be swept under the rug. The Sri Lankan government must enact laws that protect and respect human rights.

Send a message to your members of Congress asking them to push back against these unjust, dangerous laws and insist the Sri Lankan authorities respect the rights of the people.


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