Sri Lanka has introduced a Bill to amend its Prevention of Terrorism Act that gives the police sweeping powers to arrest suspects without trial, PTI reported.
The move comes ahead of the United Nations Human Rights Commission session scheduled for March. The amendment has been introduced by the country’s government in a gazette notification, according to the Sri Lankan newspaper Daily Mirror.
Last year, the UNHRC had adopted a resolution for the promotion of human rights in Sri Lanka, under which it had asked the nation’s government to review the anti-terror law. The UNHRC had also urged Sri Lanka to ensure that the law complied with international human rights and humanitarian law obligations.
The new Bill proposes a number of amendments to the law, including a provision for suspects to approach the Supreme Court on grounds of violation of their fundamental rights, officials told PTI.
It also proposes allowing a member of the Human Rights Commission to visit the place of detention and permitting family members to communicate with the suspect.
The period of detention is to be reduced from 18 months to 12 months under the proposed amendments.
The Bill, if passed, would also make it compulsory for magistrates to visit the place of detention of suspects to ensure that they are protected from torture or any degrading treatment.
The detention of any person under the law will have to be communicated to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the Daily Mirror reported.