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Sri Lanka: Emergency should not become pretext for rights violations, says watchdog

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Colombo [Sri Lanka], April 3 (ANI): A London based rights watchdog on Saturday warned the Sri Lankan government that the declaration of emergency in the island nation, in the name of public security, should not become a pretext for human rights violations.

Sri Lanka declared an islandwide curfew from 6 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Monday as the country faced a severe power crisis and rising inflation.

“Sri Lanka: The declaration of the state of emergency in the name of public security should not become a pretext for further human rights violations. The order declaring a state of emergency intends to restrict the rights to freedom of association, assembly and movement as well as due process protections,” Amnesty International said in a statement.

“In the context of growing public discontentment with the government’s handing of economics crisis, the state of emergency could have the effect of stifling dissent by creating fear, facilitating arbitrary arrests and detention,” the statement added.

The rights group said freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are human rights guarantees that may only be restricted by law. “The government should take serious and rights-respecting steps to address the situation.”

On Friday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa issued the Extraordinary Gazette declaring a state of public emergency in Sri Lanka with immediate effect.

Rajapaksa said the emergency was declared in the interests of public security, protection of public order and the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community.

This announcement came ahead of a protest that has been planned via social media for Sunday.

The island nation of 22 million people is having a hard time dealing with blackouts for up to 13 hours a day as the government scrambles to secure foreign exchange to pay for fuel imports. (ANI)

This report is auto-generated from ANI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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