Repeal The Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA)

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Sri Lanka continued to pursue its 2015 commitments to deliver justice, truth, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence for alleged crimes under international law, but progress slowed and there was evidence of backsliding. Parliament passed an amended Office on Missing Persons Act, intended to assist families of the disappeared seeking missing relatives. The Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) was not repealed; it was still used to arrest and detain suspects. Torture and other ill-treatment in police custody continued. Threats against religious and ethnic minorities and human rights defenders were reported.

The authorities continued to detain Tamils suspected of links to the LTTE under the PTA, which permitted extended administrative detention and shifted the burden of proof to a detainee alleging torture or other ill-treatment. During his visit to Sri Lanka in July, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism stated that over 100 unconvicted prisoners (pre- and post-indictment) remained in detention under the PTA, some of whom had been held for over a decade. Sri Lanka failed to follow through on its 2015 commitment to repeal the PTA and replace it with legislation that complied with international standards.