Sri Lanka: Impunity fuels recurrence of violence

On the tenth anniversary of the end of Sri Lanka’s three decade-long internal armed conflict, Amnesty International calls on the government of Sri Lanka to end impunity and put accountability for crimes under international law and human rights violations and abuses at the heart of its transitional justice process.

The horrific Easter Sunday attacks on 21 April 2019, that killed more than 250 people at three churches and three hotels, and the attacks that followed in its aftermath, are a reminder of the violence continues to haunt Sri Lanka.

Almost four years after Sri Lanka made commitments to transitional justice at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, there has been little progress on accountability for crimes under international law and other human rights violations and abuses. This failure to address key emblematic cases has hardened a climate of impunity, allowing ethnic and religious tensions to deepen social divides – such as during the recent attacks on Muslim homes, businesses and places of worship.

“It is worrying to see the recurrence of hostility and violence against ethnic and religious minorities in Sri Lanka. While the government has committed itself to a process of reconciliation, the wounds of the past will only heal if there is justice, truth and reparation,” said Biraj Patnaik, South Asia Director at Amnesty International.

“As long as there continues to be impunity for series crimes under international law, Sri Lanka will not be able to decisively break from that history.”

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