Sri Lanka police score own-goal in rights case
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s police may have scored an own goal by trying to invoke the United Nation’s Universal Declaration on Human Rights as a defence against allegations they used excessive force in breaking up a student demonstration in October.
SSP Ajith Rohana, a former police spokesman, argued before the Human Rights Commission that students were in breach of an article in the UN declaration by causing disruption to motorists and others in the area.
After SSP Rohana drew attention to the UN declaration, the independent commission went into the question of international humanitarian law and found that in fact it was the police which violated article 5 and 7 of the universal declaration.
Article 5 says "no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment," while Article 7 guarantees that everyone is equal before the law, a provision in the Sri Lankan constitution too.
The Commission also found that the police were in breach of the Article 7 and 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Sri Lanka subscribes to. Raising the stakes clearly backfired. (COLOMBO, Dec 5, 2015)
Kithmina Hewage- Institute of Policy Studies