Our main concern in the elimination of Police torture

Our main concern in the elimination of Police torture

‘Human Rights’, ‘Fundamental Rights’ and ‘Rights’ are common topics spoken of in the world today – very specially with reference to violation of Rights. There are Wars and Armed Conflicts in many countries and Human Rights organizations complain of various violations of Rights of civilian people. A high proportion of such violations prevail in the South Asian Regions according to the records of the international human rights agencies. The rate of such violence is increasing rapidly and the number of issues also multiply, especially in Pakistan, Bangaladesh, India and Sri Lanka.

In Srilanka. Approximately 56,000 crimes are recorded per year but of these 25% of the perpetrators are never identified. Only 4% of identified accused are convicted in Courts of Law. These statistics are from records available at the Police Headquarters. Only 4 out 100 accused persons are punished and other 96 escape punishment.

Our main concern in the elimination of Police torture in the Central province of Sri Lanka. People taken into custody by Police are tortured brutally in the process of investigation. Within the past two years we have achieved some positive outcome by our activities. In 2004 we received 25 complaints on torture, where as in 2005 the complaints came down to 15. These complaints covered torture inflicted in various situation in police stations, army camps, prisons, schools, at work places and in domestic service.

Minority Rights are violated on the language issue in the south of Srilanka. When Tamil speaking people go to government offices, the officers are unable to help the Tamil people as the officers do not have a working knowledge of their language. Even at some of the police stations in the central province the complaints are recorded in Sinhala language and the complainants are at a loss as they do not know what has been written.

Police torture is prevailing and the Police Commission is dysfunctional. There are also key weaknesses in policy and loop holes in the law of the country which permits the Police to indulge in torture. SETIK implements lobbying and protests activities to change policies, and minimize violations of Human rights. We plan to eradicate political interference in the judicial system which is a threat to the judiciary and prevents them exercising their duties promptly and justly.

Our implementation of the Project for the past year has definitely had very positive impact on the people and the society in the Central Province. Evaluations of the implemented activities clearly indicated the progress made in ensuring Human Rights. The people informed us of the benefits they received by this project and many people have given written comments on the impact of our project.

There were hindrances and obstacles on our way which we overcame courageously and we feel we achieved our objectives. Encouraged by the positive outcome of the past activities; eight torture cases forwarded to courts, and all cases forwarded to Human Rights organizations for the further advocacy, a vast portion of the people inour working area have became aware of human rights. A good portion of the people of our working area have also felt empowered to over come their violation of human rights. We ask you to join us in continuing this vital advocay to build a more just and better Sri Lanka.