A public protest was organized by the Kandy Human Rights office on the 26th June 2022 in Kandy city in collaboration with families and the victims of Torture, families of the disappeared, the families of the prisoners and the members of the support group along with religious leaders of all faiths to commemorate the International day in support of the Torture victims and campaign against Torture.
There were more than 250 people gathered in front of the Kandy Gotagogama premises at George De Silva park at the heart of Kandy city with posters calling the law enforcing agencies to respect the Rights of the innocent people “To be free of Torture”. HRO prepared a statement on the present police Torture especially against the innocent people who wait in queues for fuel, gas and other essential items. The statement against the police brutality & torture, printed in a format of a leaflet was distributed to the people who attended the protest and also those who passed by. Having made a silent protest for two hours from 10.00 a.m. till 12.00 noon, the purpose of the protest was explained to the mass gathering by Fr. Nandana Manatunga and Suren D. Perera AAL with the use of public address system. The event was covered by journalists and electronic media and it was highlighted by them in their main news as an event challenging the Law enforcing agencies against Torture, in human, degrading treatment and punishment.
BASL, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka filed a Fundamental Rights petition on behalf of citizens suffering shortages of essentials including fuel, gas and medicine claiming that among the other rights the citizens’ right to protection from Torture is also being violated. The background to this Fundamental Rights petition was also explained to the people at the protest.
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka which is the apex body and organization for all lawyers too warned against police assaults and Torture on suffering consumers waiting for days in fuel queues as the country suffers the worst currency crisis in the history of the islands. There has been unrest at several filling stations especially as police officer’s personal vehicles were given priority for fuel. In a statement made by the Bar association they reiterated that “Law enforcement officers must in all instances act with fairness and impartiality. Any acts seen as being biased and unfair will add to the distrust which already exits”.
Further, Sri Lanka Army says that a five-member Court of Inquiry (CoI) has been appointed to investigate and make recommendations on the incident where an army officer had assaulted a civilian at a filling station. Police said four civilians and three soldiers were wounded when the army opened fire, marking the first time that the military has used gunfire to quell unrest linked to the worsening economic crisis.
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Human Rights Office Kandy, Torture in Sri Lanka, Disappearances in Sri Lanka, Healing and Counseling
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