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Amnesty asks next president to repeal PTA

“Sri Lanka’s next president must put human rights at the heart of their policies”, Amnesty International said today (18).

“The authorities have made slow and limited but important progress when it comes to addressing human rights violations and abuses including the areas of truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence. To move on, the wounds of the past must be redressed and that is only possible if these gains are built upon,” Biraj Patnaik, South Asia Director at Amnesty International said.

He stressed that the families of the disappeared, the victims of torture and sexual violence, the people who were forced to leave their land, and the others who have suffered grave human rights violations shouldn’t be forgotten and the suspected perpetrators must be held accountable.

He called on presidential candidates to announce proposed changes to legislative systems such as solving human rights issues, transitional justice, protecting civic space, abolishing the death penalty and commit to repealing repressive laws.

Amnesty International is demanding that the next Sri Lankan president push for the repeal of the notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act because it is one of the main drivers of human rights violations today. “It should be replaced by a law that meets international standards,” Patnaik said.

The rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association have been under assault in Sri Lanka over recent years.

With regard to the death penalty, Patnaik wrote that Sri Lanka should join “most of the world’s countries in decisively turning its back on this ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading of punishment. The death penalty is not a uniquely effective deterrent against crime and it violates the most fundamental right of all, the right to life”.

To conclude his remarks, Patnaik said that “The next Sri Lankan president must represent all people living in Sri Lanka which means standing up for the human rights of people from every background,
regardless of their religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or any other characteristic and it means protecting them from those who wish them harm and holding accountable anyone suspected of
violating their rights”.

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