Amnesty Calls On Biden Administration To Intervene In Thwarting Sri Lanka's Anti-Terrorism Legislation

Amnesty International has called on the Biden administration to intervene in Sri Lanka's proposed Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), saying the draft law "categorically fails on every human rights benchmark".

The country's government has been using the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to detain and torture critics and minorities for more than 40 years. The ATA was published on 22 March as a replacement for another bill proposed in 2018. Amnesty says the new legislation is "ripe for abuse" and "an insult to civil society in Sri Lanka". The proposed law contains broad and vague provisions that enable prolonged detention, including without charge, and permits the use of the death penalty.

Amnesty International Asia Advocacy Director Carolyn Nash said: “If the administration and Congress are silent as this draft law advances, they will allow the Sri Lankan government to further cement its ability to suppress dissent.The proposed legislation is an insult to civil society in Sri Lanka, who have advocated for decades for legal reforms to protect human rights. This is far from a good faith effort on the part of the Sri Lankan authorities to improve or replace a bad law – it is an effort to shore up the government’s ability to target and silence their critics.”