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UN writes to Sri Lanka over failure to meet deadline on torture report

The United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) has written to Sri Lanka, after the government failed to respond to a report, which called for information on the “establishment of a judicial mechanism” to investigate torture and information on the role of a former Criminal Investigations Department head.

“The information sought by the Committee has not been provided yet, although more than one year has elapsed from the transmittal of the Committee’s concluding observations,” said a letter sent to Sri Lanka’s ambassador in Geneva.

Sri Lanka had until December 2017 to respond to the report, which was issued after the state was discussed at the 59th session of the UN CAT in 2016. The Tamil Guardian confirmed in April of this year, that Sri Lanka had still not responded, and despite several more months having passed since, there has been no response from Colombo.

The Rapporteur for Follow-up to Concluding Observations confirmed that no response had been received and said in the letter this week that they “would be grateful for clarification as to the current status of your Government’s responses on the matters, and as to when the information requested will be forthcoming”.

See the full text of the letter here.

The United Nations had amongst other issues, called for information regarding the role of Sisira Mendis, the Deputy Inspector General of Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigations Department from March 2008 to June 2009.

In its concluding report on Sri Lanka, CAT noted that the ‘4th floor’ facility at police headquarters in Colombo, which was under Mr Mendis’ command, is “known as a notorious site of torture” and that a previous UN investigation had reported there were “allegations of widespread torture, including sexual violence, perpetrated against individuals detained at Manik Farm Camp and elsewhere” – areas over which he allegedly “exercised supervisory authority”.

The committee was “alarmed” by Sri Lanka’s decision to include him in their delegation to the Geneva session in 2016, it added. 

Read more in our feature:

Sri Lanka fails to meet UN deadline on torture report (13 Apr 2018)

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