South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Human Rights Watch, an independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights, has issued a statement calling for the Government of Sri Lanka to order an independent and transparent inquiry into the deaths of peaceful protesters in Weliweriya, August 1st 2013.

The Sri Lankan government should stop issuing misleading information and promptly create an independent and transparent inquiry into the deaths of protesters at Weliweriya on August 1, 2013.

the statement read.

Human Rights Watch called on the government to ensure that security forces responding to protests abide by the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. These principles provide that security forces, including military personnel, shall “apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms,” and that “whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable,” law enforcement officials use force in proportion to the seriousness of the offense and the legitimate objective to be achieved, and minimize damage and injury. The intentional lethal use of firearms is only permitted when “strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.”

The authorities’ decision to send soldiers armed with assault rifles to secure a demonstration is deeply worrisome. The government needs to rethink its whole approach to ensure that people can peacefully and safely protest.

South Asia Director Meenakshi Ganguly said.