20 June, 2024


Easter Sunday Attacks: Stop Illegal Arrests – Human Rights Commission Of Sri Lanka Tells Police

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has written to the Acting IGP, calling upon him, to ensure that due processes are followed in order to prevent arbitrary or illegal arrests.

Dr. Deepika Udagama -Charrperson HRCSL

The HRCSL in their letter notes that they have received a high number of complaints, particularly in the aftermath of Easter attacks on illegal or arbitrary arrests. .

Listing out a set of guidelines to be adhered to by the Police when making arrests, HRCSL stresses on the need for law enforcement agency officials to make the arrest upon thoroughly conducting an investigation into the by’s Health

We publish below the letter in full:

Mr. Chandana Wickramaratne

Acting Inspector General of Police

Police Headquarters
Colombo 01

Re: Arbitrarv Arrest

In the aftermath of the terror attacks perpetrated on April 2l, we appreciate the efforts taken by your department in the investigation process to identify persons involved. While the security measures are completely justifiable under the present circumstances, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka wishes to emphasize the need to ensure that arrests are made only on the basis of reasonable suspicion.

The Commission has recently received a number of complaints alleging illegal arrests. Some pertain to arrests made due to cultural misunderstandings or uncertairtly and others due to suspicions expressed by members of the public. For example, one woman had been arrested due to a motif on her dress assumed to be inciteful; in some other instances persons have been arrested for possessing literature in Arabic even before ascertaining the contents; arrests have been made due to public pressure such as an arrest of a trader because some persons feared he had applied a toxic substance to certain garments he was selling. It most instances, the Commission observes that police investigations are conducted after the arrest.

In light of the above, the HRCSL recommends the following guidelines in order to avoid arbitrary and illegal arrests:

1. Whenever an arrest is to be made there should be solid evidence to form a reasonable suspicion pursuant to proper investigations. Arrests should not be made merely on hearsay.

2. Where cultural issues are involved, such as the identification of religious symbols or identifying contents written in an alien language, proper expert opinion should be obtained.

3. Where identification of chemical substances or contents of computer files or video footage or the like are involved expert opinion should be obtained.

4. It is vital that the arrests are made not before, but after receiving credible information based on expert analysis and opinion, and on reasonable suspicion.

It is trite law that arbitrary arrests violate the Constitution. We wish to highlight the judgment of theSupreme Court in Naomi Michelle Coleman v. The Hon. Atnmey Gerueral S.C (FR) Application13612Aru S.C.M 15.11.2017 where Ms. Coleman’s arres! detention and deportation due to displaying a tattoo of the Buddha was held to be violative of Article 12(1) and 13(1) of the Constitution, and resulted in compensation and costs being required to be paid amounting to Rs,800,000/- . The Supreme Court found that there was no possibility of a public outcry, though thepolice so alleged, due to the display of such a tattoo.

Therefore, please be good enough to bring these guidelines to the attention of police personnel withstrict instructions requiring compliance.

Thank you,


Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka

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Latest comments

  • 0

    Why don’t we sent Lloyd Fernando of Marga to the police headquarters to enunciate his principles of good governance for governing good government? Here’s his famous laundry list of the principles of good governance for good:
    – efficiency, equity, effectiveness, transparency, sofa, accountability.

    There are some parallels to the economist magazine, whose writers rarely see a political or economic problem that cannot be solved by the trusted three-card trick of privatisation, deregulation and liberalisation.

    • 5

      The root cause of the religious culture wars in Sri Lanka today is the Weaponization of religion and the Easter carnage organized by the US Special Operations Forces (SOF) to Divide, distract and turn Sri Lanka into a US military base with SOFA.


      So the Next time Madam DU feels like writing a letter she should write Alina Teblitz of the US Embassy and ask her to stop visiting monks at the Dalada Maligawa to sell SOFA, and weaponizing religion in Lanka.
      Also , ask Teb to remove US Special Op.s Forces ( SOF) and the US embassy needs to be SHUT DOWN. SOF staged the Easter carnage to destroy religious peace in Sri Lanka and bring in SOFA to fight fake IS terrorism. Also, DU should ask about the US diplomats at JAIC Hilton found by sniffer dogs with bomb materials after the Easter disaster.

      DU should also ask the US embassy in Colombo, with letters copied to the UK and EU representatives in Sri Lanka when they plan to dismantle the US NATO Diego Garcia Military base as it is an on going HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION in a neighbouring country , as the Chagossian people have a right to return home. and the ICJ has ruled that the UK US occupation of Chagos is illegal under international law.

      • 2

        HRCSL has not heard of Chagos Islands! prefers to act deaf and dumb to what goes beyond the shores of little Lanka! Being small minded is the mandate of US-EU funded (neo)liberal Human Rights NGO circus academics in Lanka.
        HRCSL like playing identity politics and takes orders and gets lots of funds and cocktail invites from US, UK, EU, who are the biggest violators of Economic rights and Environmental justice in the world.
        US and EUs latest environmental scam is trying to sanction Lankan tea exports and counting Lanka’s carbon foot print, while setting up cable cars to access and control the security data with a fake foreign firm.
        US EU NATO war machine and Diego Garcia military base with its massive hardware is the big green house gas producer. Check this report
        . https://www.codepink.org/elephant_in_the_room_the_pentagons_massive_carbon_footprint
        US-EU GSP is a scam to control terms of trade by US and EU while they loot the fisheries resources that belong to Indian Ocean countries..

        Sri Lankan businesses should forget about trade with US and EU and look else where for trade markets. Anyway green trade and spending less on transport and energy is about local and neighbourhood trade markets in Asia.

  • 0

    I think the law stipulated in the Police Ordinance pertaining to the subject has to be ammended accordingly.

  • 0

    Deepika U to fill in for IGP.
    What solid evidence are you looking for ? That is the last aspect to arrive after gathering evidence.
    it commence with a reasonable suspicion.
    Of course. Expert opinion is obtained. How many Universities has assisted.
    Identification of substance. That’s why Govt Analyst services are used. Its not rocket science.
    Computer related matters its always the assistance from Moratuwa Uni. DID U NOT KNOW THAT
    Reasonable suspicion is enough for arrest. Unlike the cases in Giford Four & Birmingham Six.
    Deepika, you do not deserve the respect for your intellect going by what you propose. Whom are U trying to impress?
    Following you, by the time one goes looking for suspects, they would have disappeared.
    Intellectual moronic existence displayed.

  • 0

    All of us definitely must search our souls on this issue. Here is a case where the law enforcement today has to face twin charges. One, for not acting when there is a suspicion on the threat of security. All the fellows started saying that we reported the radical views of so and so but no action was taken. There were instants where judges had warned the Police on the aspects of “rights” when the police tried to act. The second charge is that the very same police is found fault for not acting on information. Now the self crowned Queen Deepika voices this kind of sentiment, which I must say can very well be true and valid, what would be the end of law enforcement? They would absolutely do nothing in the face of serious threats, anarchy or crime and instead catch the fellow who is filing the report as one who is a rabble rouser. So! Many more bombs must explode! Is that the fate of mother Lanka? The fact remains is that none in law enforcement can strike a balance and they are economically impoverished. That basic reality must be factored into in identifying the priorities of the country.

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