Prisoners’ rights group chair to raise Lankan Situation on that day

Chairman of the Committee for Protecting the Rights of Prisoners, Attorney-at-Law Senaka Perera will be raising the issue of the myriad incidents, of torture, cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment and punishment of prisoners in Sri Lanka, at the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council 40th Session which commences on 25 February in Geneva, Switzerland.

Speaking to Ceylon Today, he explained that the said issue was generally not discussed at that forum where the emphasis was more on common topics such as Constitutional reforms.

There seems to be an emerging trend of torture, cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment and punishment taking place in Lankan Prisons, he noted, citing the incidents pertaining to 53 prisoners being killed at the Welikada Prison Complex in 1983, 26 prisoners being massacred with iron spikes at Bindunuwewa in 2000, 27 prisoners being murdered in 2012 again at Welikada, and in 2018 when the limbs of an inmate were broken at the Kuruwita Prison in Ratnapura, female detainees protesting atop the roof of Welikada over the inadequate supply of sanitary napkins/pads were subsequently assaulted, and the assault of prisoners at the Angunakolapelessa Prison.

He pointed out that the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners also known as the Mandela Rules (named after the late political prisoner, former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nelson Mandela), adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015 but has been in existence since 1955, should be used as the guidelines for the operation of local Prisons.

“There is torture, discrimination and harassment. Yet, the law is never enforced against it. The prisoners are always the victims. Attention must be drawn to this issue.”

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