Police use of water cannons and tear gas on NPP protest violated HR laws - Amnesty International

International rights organisation, Amnesty International has called on Sri Lankan authorities to exercise restraint in the use of force against protests. Responding to the news that one protestor had been killed and dozens injured as a result of the use of water cannons and tear gas by the police in Colombo on Sunday, Regional Researcher of the organisation Harindrini Corea said it is worrying that the police need to be constantly reminded of their duty to facilitate the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and exercise restraint in the use of force while policing assemblies. “Their actions over the last several months have cost the lives of many peaceful protestors including another death,” she said.

“Videos from yesterday show that the protesters were in a confined space without the possibility for dispersal or escape and yet the police used water cannons and tear gas in violation of international human rights law and standards on the use of force,” Corea noted. “Less lethal weapons that have indiscriminate effects and a high potential for harm must not be used where there is no widespread violence against persons during a peaceful assembly,” she added.

Corea said an independent and impartial investigation must promptly be launched into all allegations of human rights violations, including the deaths reported in the context of the protests, so that all those found responsible are brought to justice in fair trials.