Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

5 August 2013

Sri Lanka: Investigators of alleged army killings of protesters should be truly independent

Sri Lanka: Investigators of alleged army killings of protesters should be truly independent
Three men demonstrating over access to drinking water were killed over the weekend in Weliweriya, western Sri Lanka.

Three men demonstrating over access to drinking water were killed over the weekend in Weliweriya, western Sri Lanka.

© Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images


The Sri Lankan army should have never been policing unarmed demonstrators in the first place, and having them investigate their own alleged abuses is simply ridiculous.
Source: 
Polly Truscott, Asia Director at Amnesty International.

The Sri Lankan authorities must not allow the army to investigate itself over allegations of excessive use of force by its members after three protesters demonstrating over access to drinking water were killed over the weekend, Amnesty International said.

“The Sri Lankan army should have never been policing unarmed demonstrators in the first place, and having them investigate their own alleged abuses is simply ridiculous,” said Polly Truscott, Asia Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

“Sri Lankan authorities must urgently initiate an effective  investigation into this tragic incident. The investigation must be independent, impartial and conducted with the professionalism, resources and powers necessary to unearth the truth about this incident. The army cannot be seen to investigate itself. Anything less will send the message that using  excessive force against protesters is permitted.”

Sri Lanka is legally bound by international human rights treaties to respect and protect the right to life, and provide effective remedy when this right is violated.

Protests began last week as thousands of Weliweriya residents in western Sri Lanka complained about the contamination of their source of drinkable water from a factory nearby.

The deaths on Thursday occurred following clashes between demonstrators and the army. Video footage appears to show soldiers firing live ammunition at protestors; some of whom can be seen throwing rocks.

According to media reports, Akila Dinesh, 17, died after in a local hospital soon after the first clashes on Thursday and Ravishan Perera, 19, died on Saturday. An unnamed 29-year-old man, died at the Colombo National Hospital on Sunday. According to media reports many other protesters were injured, and military personnel also assaulted some demonstrators who had taken refuge in a church.

Issue

Activists 
Extrajudicial Executions And Other Unlawful Killings 

Country

Sri Lanka 

Region

Asia And The Pacific 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

21 August 2014

Children accused of being members of armed groups in the conflict in Mali are languishing in adult jails while human rights abuses continue.

Read more »
15 August 2014

The number of killings perpetrated by the police is on the rise again in the Dominican Republic whilst legislation intended to fix the problem stalls and stagnates in Congress... Read more »

22 August 2014

The rare acquittal of a death row prisoner in China, who had languished in prison through six years’ of appeals, is another reminder of the need to immediately end all... Read more »

21 August 2014

After fleeing their homes and surviving a perilous Mediterranean crossing, African migrants in Italy are falling prey to labor gangs.

Read more »
22 August 2014

A shocking video showing an execution-style killing by an armed group at a football stadium in eastern Libya highlights the authorities’ failure to prevent parts of the country... Read more »