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Commission welcomes presidential directives on arrest and detention

Graphic: Police officer seen in car rear vision mirror

The Human Rights Commission welcomes the Directives issued by His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena on the arrest and detention of persons under the Prevention of Terrorism Act No 48 of L979 (PTA) and a state of emergency when in force.

The Directives would facilitate the Commission exercise its powers, functions and duties in this regard and would without doubt reinforce the protection afforded to persons subject to arrest and detention under extraordinary laws.

The Commission also welcomes the Government's decision to repeal the PTA and wishes to bring to the attention of the government the need to ensure that the national security legislation, which is being proposed to replace the PTA, adheres to international human rights standards.

In this regard the Commission recommends the following elements that have been identified by the UN Special Rapporteur on Protecting and Promoting Human Rights While Countering Terrorism, which should be an integral part of any future national security legislation that is drafted.

These recommendations are contained in the Special Rapporteur's reports, which are available at: www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Terrorism/Pages/SRTerrorismIndex.aspx.

Those recommendations have been shared with the Hon. Prime Minister in the hope the Commission will be able to engage in dialogue with, and extend its support to, the Government to ensure national security laws that adhere to international human rights standards and policies.

The full statement and recommendations of the Commission are available at:

Date: 22 June 2016

Image credits

  1. Police officer seen in car rear vision mirror - indi.ca, Flickr; http://bit.ly/28W2IDN