A UN human rights experts on Saturday said that detainees in Sri Lanka are still experiencing torture as a tactic used by criminal and terrorism investigators seven years after the country’s civil war ended. The comments were made [AP report] after a nine-day trip to the country where Juan E. Méndez [official profile], UN Special Rapporteur on torture, conducted interviews with former detainees, and forensic tests were able to confirm the stories. While fewer cases are reported now than during the decades-long conflict, Méndez said torture persists. Méndez also noted dilapidated and overcrowded prisons, calling the conditions a violation of due process.
Méndez’s observations echo those of Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website], which reported [press release] in October that police forces in Sri Lanka regularly torture [JURIST report] and mistreat 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.