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Sri Lanka’s proposed Penal Code ‘directly contravenes’ UN resolution says TNA

The Sri Lankan government’s proposed Penal Code amendment on hate speech “directly contravenes” pledges made in a UN Human Rights Council resolution said the Tamil National Alliance, adding that it is “nearly identical” to the notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act used to target Tamils and Muslims.

Strongly opposing the amendment, the TNA stated the amendment is “nearly identical to Section 2(1)(h),” adding “the previous government used this very provision to target persons from the Tamil and Muslim communities and to deprive them of their freedom of speech and expression”.

The statement went on to recall the cases of Tamil journalist J.S. Tissainayagam and Muslim politician Asath Salley, both of whom were detained under Section 2(1)(h) of the PTA. “Both these persons were critical of the previous government’s policies, particularly with respect to the treatment of minority communities,” said the TNA. “These incidents and others like them prompted international condemnation of the previous government’s use of the PTA to suppress media freedom and dissent.”

Noting that the Sri Lankan government recently sponsored a UN Human Rights Council resolution which pledged to review and repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the TNA stated “Section 291C of the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill directly contravenes this commitment”.

See the full text of the statement below.