The Sri Lankan government is “unleashing a chilling process of repression targeting critics and human rights defenders,” said a report by the International Truth and Justice Project – Sri Lanka (ITJP) and Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS), which documented at least 69 recent incidents of intimidation and threats
The current regime’s strategy to militarize and securatize Sri Lanka has targeted journalists, human rights defenders, lawyers, plaintiffs, academics and opposition figures, said the two organisations. “In some cases the threats have been so serious the individuals have fled the country,” they added.
“What we are seeing is the dismantling of any attempts to address accountability and a massive shrinking of the civic space in Sri Lanka with even more sophisticated and intrusive surveillance,” said ITJP’s Executive Director, Yasmin Sooka.“The international community has to ensure the increased security assistance it is giving Sri Lanka after the Easter Sunday bombings is not being misused now to crack down on human rights defenders and journalists”.
“Individuals previously accused of corruption or alleged to be involved in war crimes are now in office again - the ‘deep state” is out in the open, occupying positions of authority,” said Bashana Abeywardene of JDS.
See the full text of the report here.