The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Experts yesterday (08) condemned the extensive, prolonged and repeated use of State of Emergency measures since April 02, 2022 by Sri Lankan Authorities to crackdown on peaceful protesters and prevent them from voicing their grievances amidst an economic collapse in the country.
“We have raised our concerns to the Government on a number of occasions over the misuse of emergency measures, but to no avail. We condemn the recent and continued abuse of such measures to infringe on the legitimate exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression,” the Experts said.
“In the wake of an unprecedented economic crisis in which families sometimes have to choose between food and medicine, these repressive measures further close avenues for dialogue and maintain a political climate prone to an escalation of tensions,
“Limitations to the right to freely assemble must be applied only in exceptional circumstances and strictly according to the law. National security cannot be used as a pretext to shut down expressions of dissent, and detention purely due to peaceful exercise of rights is arbitrary. We wish to recall that protesters, including Civil Society Representatives, Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, should be protected in the context of peaceful protests and not face criminal liability for their participation,” the UN Experts said.
“We urge the Government to halt its repeated use of emergency measures and instead seek an open and genuine dialogue with Sri Lankans on political and economic reforms to reduce the impact of the economic crisis,” they added.