Amnesty International has called on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to ensure that human rights are “central to any future economic reform program” negotiated between the organisation and the Sri Lankan government.
In a letter to the IMF’s representative in Colombo, the rights organisation raised its concerns over the impact financial assistance from the IMF will have on human rights in Sri Lanka.
The letter comes as the IMF arrives in Colombo today to begin bailout talks with the Sri Lankan government as the island experiences its worst financial crises in decades. Sri Lanka's inflated defence budget, economic mismanagement and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic have plunged Sri Lanka's economy into crisis. The island's depleting foreign reserves have caused inflation to soar, creatign a chronic shortage of fuel, food and medicines.
Amnesty International stated that “protections for the ‘vulnerable and poor’ must translate into well designed and funded measures that allow all people to access and enjoy an adequate standard of living.”
The rights group also called on the IMF to “build measures to guarantee accountability and public scrutiny to avoid corruption.”
“The Government of Sri Lanka must ensure that discussions with lenders include the urgency to put in place adequate social security measures to protect people from the negative impacts of the economic crisis,” said Thyagi Ruwanpathirana, Amnesty International’s South Asia Regional Researcher.
“The government must also ensure that any austerity measures introduced are temporary, legitimate, necessary, reasonable, proportionate and subject to meaningful review and accountability procedures,” she added.