sri lanka arresting tamils is a blow to human rights
Sri Lankan authorities have detained nine ethnic Tamils for commemorating those who died in the 1983-2009 civil war, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report. Sri Lanka has been using a controversial anti-terrorism law to arrest people. This is a blow to human rights.
HRW said in a report titled, ‘Sri Lanka: Tamils Detained for Commemorating War Dead’, that Sri Lanka should immediately release all those arbitrarily detained under the country’s abusive counterterrorism law.
The Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) has sparked concern among Tamil legislators, human rights activists, trading partners and international agencies, including the United Nations (UN).
Meenakshi Ganguly, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division, said in a report, “The Sri Lankan authorities’ use of a counterterrorism law against Tamils commemorating those who died in the civil war is cruelly abusive.”
Anti-terrorism law spark concern in Sri Lanka
The PTA was enacted in 1979 in order to crush Tamil youth’s armed struggle against state discrimination. The PTA became a permanent law in 1982. It is considered “draconian” by human rights defenders.
The PTA was used against Sinhala youth in the 1980s. The law was also used against Muslims in the wake of the Easter Sunday terror attacks of 2019.
The authorities arrested nine ethnic Tamils between November 25 and 27 in Batticaloa, in the Eastern Province, for commemorating those who died in the 1983-2009 civil war.
The Sri Lankan Civil War was an intermittent insurgency against the government by the Velupillai Prabhakaran-led Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Human rights abuse in Sri Lanka
Tamil Eelam has been accused by many human rights and non-governmental organizations of recruiting children, torture, assassinations, violence against women and engaging in extortion in its war.
Since the civil war between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended in 2009, the government prevented Tamils from publicly memorializing the war dead. In 2009, Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tigers.
Earlier this month, police prevented the ethnic and religious minorities from conducting ceremonies to commemorate the dead in the 1983-2009 civil war.