Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

OHCHR warns that militarisation in Sri Lanka has left it unable to address crisis

The United Nations human rights office warned Sri Lanka that it was “closely following developments” and reiterated that the island’s “drift towards militarisation and the weakening of institutional checks and balances” have left it unable to effectively deal with the economic and political crises.

The press release from Liz Throssell, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that militarisation had contributed to the State’s “ability to effectively tackle the economic crisis and ensure the realization of the economic, social and cultural rights of all people in Sri Lanka”.

Tamil-populated areas of the northeast have been under military occupation for decades. One report found that 25% of the Sri Lankan Army occupied a district with only 0.6% of the population of Sri Lanka. Despite widespread criticism of the military's intrusion on Tamils' civil, economic and social life in their homeland, the military continues to occupy private and state land illegally. 

The office also reminded Sri Lankan authorities that “measures related to states of emergency should be limited to the extent strictly required by the situation.” 

The High Commissioner had also previously voiced concerns concerning the Sri Lankan government’s response to criticism and dissent in ways that undermine civic space. 

“We reiterate these concerns today,” said Throssell.

Press freedom continues to be a concern on the island, where Tamil journalists are subject to police harassment, acts of intimidation, surveillance, assault, and death for speaking out against human rights abuses committed by the Sri Lankan state against the Tamil minority. As of 2021, Sri Lanka was ranked 127th out of 180 countries by Reporters without Borders. 

As the economic crisis grips Sri Lanka, the UN Human Rights office reports that it is “closely watching developments” and hopes the government will engage in “immediate, inclusive and meaningful dialogue” to redress the current situation afflicting Sri Lanka. 

We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.

For more ways to donate visit https://donate.tamilguardian.com.