Amnesty International remind Govt. of its human rights obligations

Urges rights be made central in its response to economic crisis


COLOMBO – Amnesty International on Monday (20), reminded the Sri Lankan government of its human rights obligations, raising concerns that its response to the current economic crisis may result in a further erosion of economic and social rights.

Responding to media reports that the government was currently in conversations with a range of lenders regarding its debt obligations and announcement of austerity measures amidst a serious economic crisis, the rights body, in a statement issued on Monday,  also reminded the government that Sri Lanka has ratified a number of treaties, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights, under which it must respect, protect and fulfil all persons’ economic and social rights. “These apply even during times of economic crisis,” Amnesty International’s South Asia Regional Researcher Thyagi Ruwanpathirana, said, emphasizing that the Sri Lankan government must ensure discussions with lenders include the urgency to put in place adequate social security measures to protect people from the negative impacts of the economic crisis.

“It must develop a mechanism for consultation where the people can effectively participate in and contribute to discussions about budgets and public expenditure. The government must also ensure that any austerity measures introduced are temporary, legitimate, necessary, reasonable, proportionate and subject to meaningful review and accountability procedure,” Ruwanpathirana said.

Amnesty International also called on the authorities to ensure that any future commitments around Sri Lanka’s debt, including around future debt servicing obligations, must not undermine the government’s ability to fulfil its human rights obligations.

Last week, Amnesty International wrote to the Sri Lankan government outlining a range of measures to ensure human rights remains central in its response to the country’s economic crisis, as the people in Sri Lanka risk austerity measures. The full text of the letter and recommendations is available here.



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