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UN torture prevention team concludes Sri Lanka visit

The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture has completed its first field visit to Sri Lanka earlier today and will now look to submit a confidential report on its findings to the government.

“The delegation visited police stations, prisons, remand prisons, military camps, rehabilitation centres, mental health institution, a rehabilitation centre for children, and held meetings with the Government representatives, Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission and civil society representatives,” said a UN press release.

“We have received good cooperation during the visit, having access to all places of detention, getting all relevant information and performing confidential interviews,” said Victor Zaharia, who led the four-member delegation. “We look positively on Sri Lanka’s prospective development of a national preventive mechanism, as required under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. Our work is guided by the principles of confidentiality, impartiality, non-selectivity, universality and objectivity.”

During their visit, the delegation also visited the 'LTTE rehabilitation centre' in Vavuniya.  

Read more: UN torture prevention team visits Vavuniya prison

Announcing the visit last month, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, also released a report which detailed ongoing reports of torture. 

"A preliminary assessment of the information received indicates that there are reasonable grounds to believe that accounts of unlawful abductions and detention and of torture, including incidents of sexual violence against men and women, are credible, and that such practices might be continuing in northern Sri Lanka. Such allegations should be the subject of prompt, effective, transparent, independent and impartial investigations. In the past, the Government has condemned any act of torture, and indicated that any allegation of torture would be properly investigated and prosecuted. OHCHR is not aware of any investigations undertaken to date into the above-mentioned allegations," the report noted.