HRW: Sri Lanka police regularly torture suspects

HRW: Sri Lanka police regularly torture suspects

Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Friday reported [press release] that police forces in Sri Lanka regularly torture and ill-treat criminal suspects in custody. HRW Asia director Brad Adams said, “[t]he Sri Lankan police treat the use of torture as an ordinary way of obtaining confessions.” HRW compiled allegations [report] of police torture which took place in Sri Lanka between 2014-15 and included beatings, electric shocks, use of stress positions, and failure to provide needed medical treatment among others. The rights group called on the Sri Lankan government to create an independent oversight authority to monitor the police actions and bring an end to the police abuse.

The Sri Lankan government has faced international and domestic criticism relating to its handling of human rights violations. Earlier in October, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution [JURIST report] encouraging the government of Sri Lanka to investigate violence toward human rights activists and minority groups, and create a scheme for reporting violations of human rights and humanitarian law. Based on the recommendations, the Sri Lankan government expressed interest [Reuters report] in creating a judicial process to investigate war crimes committed during its 26-year civil war. Last year, then-US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Stephen Rapp called on Sri Lanka to investigate rights abuses [JURIST report] by security forces during the civil war. In October, a Sri Lankan panel presented a report to parliament which concluded [JURIST report] that allegations that Sri Lankan troops committed war crimes are credible.