Respect and Protection of Fundamental Human Rights in Sri Lanka urged by UN experts |



The foreign exchange shortage, along with rising inflation, shortages of fuel and necessities, and prolonged blackouts, has triggered an economic crisis.

It has exacerbated the already dire situation for access to food and health, and thousands of Sri Lankans have taken to the streets in protest calling for political and economic reforms.

In response, the government imposed a nationwide curfew from 2-4 April and arrested more than 600 people who took to the streets.

The president declared a nationwide state of emergency on April 2, which has since been revoked, giving authorities the ability to bypass most laws while authorities blocked access to several social media platforms, which was later restored.

There should be no unnecessary and excessive use of force in peaceful protests and just voices of dissent. by the authorities,” a group of five UN experts said in a statement.

criticism

The combined effects of foreign debt, corruption and the COVID-19 crisis have damaged the country’s economy.

In an initially voluntary and peaceful protest on March 31, hundreds of people gathered in front of the presidential residence to demand the president’s resignation in response to the crisis.

Security forces responded by firing tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd, and clashes broke out, injuring nearly 50 people, including several journalists, and making further arrests.

“These measures appear to be aimed at hampering or preventing peaceful protests amid the worsening economic crisis and lack of access to fuel, electricity, medicines and essential food,” experts said.

We condemn the excessive use of tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters and the recent blockade of social media platforms.,” they added, adding that the government will allow students, human rights activists and others to “protest in a peaceful manner… and to share political views and express dissatisfaction online and offline.”

call for open dialogue

Experts urged authorities to engage in constructive and open dialogue with the people of Sri Lanka.

“The use of force against protesters not only jeopardizes the means of peacefully expressing dissatisfaction, but also risks escalating tensions,” they said.

We urge the Sri Lankan government to seek open and genuine dialogue with peaceful protesters on political reform. It is a means to reduce the impact of the economic crisis,” he said.





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