10 September 2022
The Sri Lankan authorities have fiercely clamped down on protests and demonized protesters during a period of economic crisis and hardship in the country, Amnesty International said in a new digest released today.
The briefing, Penalized for Protesting: Sri Lanka’s crackdown on protestors, details how the authorities have failed to protect peaceful protesters and resorted to excessive use of force, deploying the military to police protests and carrying out reprisals against protestors while also demonizing those who exercise their protest rights peacefully.
“Over the last few months, Sri Lanka has seen widespread protests over the worst economic crisis in the country’s post-independence history. People have the right to express discontent peacefully and the state has an obligation to facilitate this right but 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.”
It must be noted that there have been some incidents of violence during protests since the protest movement began in February 2022. While these protests cannot be deemed as peaceful, the response by the authorities to such protest must still comply with human rights laws and standards. #