UPDATE (SRI LANKA): Amnesty International (AI) urges the government to stop torture


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-64-2002
ISSUES: Torture,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been informed that Amnesty International (AI) has issued a press release to urge the government of Sri Lanka to end torture. 

In the press release, AI urged the prime minister of Sri Lanka to implement key recommendations made by the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) and also called for establishing an independent investigative body with the necessary power and expertise to make investigations into alleged torture cases. 

AHRC, as a organization that has continuously drawn attention to the widespread practice of torture in Sri Lanka, is pleased to learn about AI’s action and urges all members of the international human rights community to join the campaign against torture in Sri Lanka as well as other Asian countries. 

For your information, we are attaching a copy of AI’s press release. 

Thank you for your support. 

Urgent Appeals Desk 
Asian Human Rights Commission 



AI Index: ASA 37/017/2002 (Public) 
News Service No: 197 
1 November 2002 

Sri Lanka: Amnesty International urges the government to stop torture 

Amnesty International today wrote to the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremasinghe, urging him to implement key recommendations made by the Committee against Torture (CAT) after the results of their confidential inquiry into allegations of a systematic practice of torture in Sri Lanka were presented to the United Nations General Assembly. 

“We have had a long-standing concern about torture, including rape, reported both in the context of the armed conflict and routine police investigations,” Amnesty International wrote in the letter. 

Amnesty International urged a thorough and impartial review of the role of the police, magistrates and doctors in relation to the prevention and investigation of torture. The organisation also called for the setting up of an investigative body fully independent of the police with the necessary powers and expertise required to open criminal investigations wherever there is a reasonable ground to believe torture has been committed. 

“No perpetrators of torture have so far been convicted in a criminal court, despite the reported filing of some cases,” Amnesty International added. 

The organization appreciates that some measures have already been taken, including the instructions sent to the Inspector General of Police to all police units that under no circumstances should torture be permitted, and the setting up of the “Prosecution of Torture Perpetrators Unit” in the Attorney General’s Department. However frequent and continuing reports of torture prove the need for the full implementation of the recommendations made by CAT in its recent report, many of which echo recommendations made by Amnesty International in its reports on torture and rape in custody published in June 1999 and January 2002 respectively. 

Amnesty International also informed the Prime Minister that it will be seeking clarification from the CAT about its unclear and equivocal findings that “although a disturbing number of cases of torture and ill-treatment …. are taking place, mainly in connection with the armed conflict, its practice is not systematic”. This conclusion appears to be at odds with CAT’s assessment that reports of torture are high, ongoing concerns that instructions to police and security forces not to commit torture are not always obeyed, and investigations into allegations of torture are not satisfactory. 

Public Document 

For more information please call Amnesty International’s press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web: http://www.amnesty.org 

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-64-2002
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Torture,