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Sri Lanka's state of emergency must respect human rights - Amnesty

Sri Lankan authorities must ensure that human rights are upheld, Amnesty International said today, after the government declared a statement of emergency following Sinhala mob led attacks against Muslims in Kandy. 

"It is important that the authorities take action against mobs who have incited hatred and carried out acts of violence against religious minorities. They have a duty to protect vulnerable groups and hold the perpetrators accountable. But a state of emergency must not become a pretext for further human rights abuses," Amnesty's South Asia director, Biraj Patnaik said on Tuesday. 

“While it is positive that the government wishes to prevent further violence, any steps taken to address the problem, however, must meet Sri Lanka’s obligations under international human rights law, including the absolute prohibition on torture, unfair trials and arbitrary detention," Patnaik added. 

"Amnesty has also called on the Sri Lankan authorities to take action against those responsible for attacks on the country’s Muslim minority. Although several people have now been arrested for involvement in the recent attacks, there is still widespread impunity for previous incidents of violence against Muslim minority communities in the country," the organisation said in its statement.