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Sri Lankan Government’s Crackdown on Protesters Must End

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 among other 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 authorities sought to crush this dissent through militarized intimidation, smear campaigns that demonize protestors and the weaponization of the draconian PTA, which has been used to detain protestors on trumped-up terror charges.

People have the right to express discontent peacefully and the state has an obligation to facilitate this right. Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe must immediately stop the repression, intimidation and reprisals against peaceful protestors. The Sri Lankan government must protect the right to protest.

Send a message to Sri Lanka’s Minister of Justice, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, and Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States, Mahinda Samarasinghe, urging them to work with the President of Sri Lanka to repeal the PTA and ensure no legislation is used to target dissent or prevent peaceful protest.


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Minister of Justice
Minister of Justice
Ambassador of Sri Lanka
Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States