Sri Lanka Should End Year-Long State of Emergency, Says Amnesty

By Andrey Volkov
Andrey Volkov
Andrey Volkov
August 4, 2010 Updated: March 1, 2012

It is time that Sri Lanka terminate the state of emergency put in place over a year ago at the end of the civil war, Amnesty International was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

"Continued reliance [on emergency regulations] when there is no longer evidence of an emergency … sends a message to Sri Lankan citizens that the state does not respect the rule of law," Amnesty International told Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), a humanitarian news service under an arm of the United Nations.

The civil war between Sri Lankan forces and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that started in 1971 ended last May. Thousands of civilians were killed during the war, with thousands more spending years in detention without trial.

Human rights groups say that Sri Lankan authorities have been using the state of emergency to crack down on journalists, political opponents, and trade unionists.

"The war is over. Perpetuation of the emergency is now just being used as a weapon against political opposition, and as a quick fix for poor law enforcement practices, and a dysfunctional justice system,” Amnesty reported early this year.

Member of Parliament Rajiva Wijesinha, said the government needed to maintain the state of emergency amid concerns that the Tamil Tigers might renew their offense with foreign help, reported IRIN.