Reuters reported recently that Amnesty says Sri Lanka represses dissent to consolidate power.The report stated that Amnesty International said that the Sri Lankan government is intensifying a crackdown on critics in order to tighten its grip on power, and urged the Commonwealth countries not to hold a summit there in November. But the Media Minister of the Sri Lankan government Keheliya Rambukwella accused Amnesty International of being in the pay of supporters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). He further stated that Amnesty is always against Sri Lanka and they never see anything positive. We accept still there are some problems, but they need to see what we have done good also.”
The London-based rights group, citing specific rights abuses in a 78-page report entitled ‘Sri Lanka’s Assault on Dissent’ said a crackdown on critics had intensified through threats, harassment, imprisonment and violent attacks.”Violent repression of dissent and the consolidation of political power go hand in hand in Sri Lanka,” said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.”Over the past few years we have seen space for criticism decrease.
There is a real climate of fear in Sri Lanka, with those brave enough to speak out against the government often having to suffer badly for it.”The rights group further said the report was based on interviews with witnesses, lawyers and activists, legal affidavits, court records, reports by Sri Lankan, United Nations and international human rights organizations, as well as local and international media reports. The report also said journalists, the judiciary, human rights activists and opposition politicians were among those who have been targeted in a pattern of government-sanctioned abuse, often involving the security forces or their proxies.