SRI LANKA: Exhibition highlights failure to prevent torture


A major exhibition on ‘elimination of torture’ opened at the Public Library auditorium in Colombo, Sri Lanka on the 16th of April. The exhibits depict individual cases of torture, paintings on the theme of torture, and posters explaining the reasons for torture and laws against torture, highlighting the failures of the legal process offered to the public. The exhibition is organized by Janasansadaya (a local organization working towards elimination of torture) and the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission.

The major part of the exhibition is devoted to the failures of the
prosecuting branch – Attorney General’s department – to enforce the existing legal provisions against torture. Under Sri Lakan law torture is an offence punishable by a minimum seven years’ imprisonment, but despite hundreds of cases arising each month, no-one has yet been punished under this Act, the organizers said at the opening.

\”This is a terrible problem, Chural Perera, the president of Janasansadaya, said to the reporters. \”Why is it that no-one does anything about it? There is no investigating authority to take down complaints. People still somehow make their complaints and even get medical reports showing the injuries. But at the end nothing comes of it. The Attorney General’s department, which has to implement Sri Lanka’s Toture Act No.22 of 1994, in fact blocks the the prosecutions and protects culprits,\” he said.

The exhibition is attracting many viewers and will continue until the 18th of May. A book entitled ‘Policiyata Prathisankarana’ (‘Reforms to the Police’) will be launched on the 18th during the exhibition.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : MR-09-2002
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Police violence, Prosecution system, Torture,