Sri Lanka’s Bar Association (BASL) launched an Anti-Torture unit focused on tackling issues of police brutality, torture, and deaths in police custody.
During the launch of the new unit President of BASL’s Counsel, Saliya Pieris, affirmed BASL’s commitment to ending “torture and custodial violence”.
Supreme Court Judge, Justice S Thurairaja, also spoke at the event and noted that greater accountability at a higher level means that more people will be protected on the ground level. He further highlighted that in Sri Lanka torture is pervasive, existing in several institutions including the Police Department, Prisons Department, and universities.
“Torture also takes many forms such as psychological and physical forms. Thus, this is a timely gesture”.
The announcement comes as several human rights groups including Human Rights Watch and the International Truth and Justice Project have raised alarm over the country’s dire human rights record. This campaigning has led Police Scotland to not renew its training contract with Sri Lanka. The ITJP has documented the testimonies of 15 Tamils who had been abducted, detained and tortured by Sri Lanka security forces since Gotabaya Rajapaksa came to the office of President.
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