US State Dept releases reports on ongoing Human Rights violations in the World

The US Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016 was released on 7 March 2017. They are prepared by human rights officers at U.S. missions around the world who review information available from a wide variety of civil society, government, and other sources.

The report on Sri Lanka states that the most significant human rights problems were incidents of arbitrary arrest, lengthy detention, surveillance, and harassment of civil society activists, journalists, members of religious minorities, and persons viewed as sympathizers of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Other human rights problems included abuse of power and reports of torture by security services. Severe prison overcrowding and lack of due process remained problems, as did some limits on freedoms of assembly and association, corruption, physical and sexual abuse of women and children, and trafficking in persons. Discrimination against women, persons with disabilities, and persons based on sexual orientation continued, and limits on workers’ rights and child labor also remained problems.

Impunity for crimes committed during and following the armed conflict continued, particularly in cases of killings, torture, sexual violence, corruption, and other human rights abuses. The government made incremental progress on addressing impunity for violations of human rights. The government took some steps to arrest and detain a limited number of military, police, and other officials implicated in old and new cases, including the killing of parliamentarians and the abductions and suspected killings of journalists and private citizens. It said there were no reports of politically motivated disappearances

Commenting on land issues it says that Land ownership disputes between private individuals in former war zones, as well as between citizens and government entities such as the military, continued to be an issue.

The report states that Corruption remained an issue. A parliamentary panel, the Committee on Public Enterprises, launched an investigation against then central bank governor Arjuna Mahendran amid allegations that Mahendran had given his son-in-law insider information and they had both benefited from sovereign bond sales. Mahendran has also been accused of multimillion rupee spending on his government credit card. Mahendran has denied the allegations and an earlier investigation cleared him. The government has yet to take action against Mahendran, despite the parliamentary panel’s conclusion in October that Mahendran acted improperly.

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