• Press Release

Widespread Protests in Sri Lanka Highlight Unified Opposition to Anti-Terrorism Act

May 2, 2023

In response to increasing protests throughout Sri Lanka in response to the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), the proposed replacement legislation to the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), Amnesty International USA Asia Advocacy Director Carolyn Nash said:

“The ATA poses an urgent threat to human rights in Sri Lanka. If enacted, the law could be used to levy charges of terrorism against people simply for exercising their human right to protest peacefully. The outcry from the Sri Lankan people is evidence that this bill is just as or even more dangerous than the draconian law it aims to replace. If the ATA is enacted, the Sri Lankan authorities will still be empowered to suppress dissent, as they currently do using the PTA. We call on the government to substantially revise or drop entirely this new law, to repeal the PTA, and to issue an immediate moratorium on use of the PTA in the interim. These laws are an affront to human rights.”

“From the Bar Association of Sri Lanka to student groups – Sri Lankans across the country fear that the ATA will empower the president to name anyone a terrorist and target anyone who challenges state authority. The dangers posed by the ATA have united so many groups in their stance against this effort to suppress peaceful protestors and curtail free speech.”

“The ATA must be substantially revised or dropped and the PTA must be repealed. In the interim, an immediate moratorium must be placed on the use of the PTA to prevent further attacks on the human rights of the people of Sri Lanka.”

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