A United Nations envoy on Friday said that human rights violations continue to be “endemic and routine” in Sri Lanka. The UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson (pictured above) called the country’s anti-terror law, which allows people to be detained without trial, a stain on its international reputation, The Washington Post reported.

Emmerson, who was in Sri Lanka for five days, further said that the country’s counter-terrorism methods continue to subject people to torture even though the new government had promised to end such practices.

“In Sri Lanka, such practices are very deeply ingrained in the security sector, and all evidence points to the conclusion that the use of torture has been, and remains today, endemic and routine, for those arrested and detained on national security grounds,” the UN representative said.

Although Emmerson noted the “steep decline” in cases, he added that the anti-terror law in itself remains in the statute book, according to Lanka Business Online. Emmerson said 70 people had been in detention for more than five years without trial, citing official records.

“Steps should be taken to release these individuals on bail immediately, or bring them to trial within weeks or months, not years or decades,” he said.