• Human Rights Watch

New Sri Lankan President has Opportunity to Support Rights

August 9, 2022

[Image Source: © AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena]

Cited article by Human Rights Watch


HRRC urges newly-elected President Ranil Wickremesinghe to end the continuation of violence and abusive tactics against Sri Lankan civilians employed during the country's former presidency. This new beginning is an opportunity to address the concerns that resulted in the former president's resignation. Civilians must be protected and their wellbeing ensured.


Article Summary


Sri Lanka has sworn in new president Ranil Wickremesinghe, taking over for former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa who stepped down during widespread protests of economic mismanagement and corruption. Due to years of poor governance and human rights abuses, Sri Lanka is experiencing a political, economic, and human rights crisis. President Wickremesinghe has the opportunity to establish widespread social protections for civilians to prevent further abuse and hardship.


However, Wickremesinghe has already imposed a state of emergency that grants law enforcement bodies sweeping powers. On July 18th, the day after his inauguration, the new president sent police to disperse a group of peaceful protestors. The tactics used resulted in over 50 people, including journalists and lawyers, being beaten. Additionally, during the process of dispersing the protest, at least 30 organizers were arrested without warrants or due-process.