UNHRC Expresses Concerns Over Sri Lanka’s Revised Anti-Terrorism Bill
January 20, Colombo (LNW): The United Nations Human Rights Office has voiced serious concerns regarding the revised Anti-Terrorism Bill currently under consideration by the Sri Lankan parliament. The proposed legislation, intended to replace the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), has been criticized for perpetuating past human rights violations and failing to adhere to international standards.
Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, emphasized that the repeal of the PTA should mark a turning point for meaningful reform in Sri Lanka’s internal security approach. However, the current proposed law raises alarms as it risks perpetuating historical patterns of rights violations.
According to the United Nations Human Rights Office, the bill defines acts of “terrorism” too broadly, restricts judicial guarantees, especially in challenging the lawfulness of detention orders, and limits the Human Rights Commission’s ability to visit places of detention, among other problematic provisions.
The statement issued by the UN office warned that if passed in its current form, the Bill would grant excessive powers to the executive, lacking adequate safeguards against potential abuse of these powers.
The United Nations Human Rights Office urged Sri Lankan authorities to revise the Bill and align it fully with the country’s international human rights obligations.