Press Statements - Sri Lanka

SAHR expresses great concern over the threat to the life of Dr. Nimalka Fernando


South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) expresses great concern over the threat made to Dr. Nimalka Fernando’s life. This threat was made on the radio programme titled “Rata Yana Atha” broadcasted on a Commercial Channel of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, a State owned media channel.

It is deplorable that a State owned media channel would encourage such threats on their programme. Nimalka has always been a fierce defender of human rights and a strong critic of those who violate them. Her continuous criticism of the Government of Sri Lanka has made her a foe to these actors. (more…)

SAHR Vehemently Condemns the Arbitrary Arrest of Human Rights Activist Adilur Rahman Khan


South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) vehemently condemns the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan, a Senior Lawyer of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and a former Deputy Attorney General who currently holds office as Secretary of Odhikar, a Bangladeshi Human Rights Organization.

We are concerned that the Chief Metropolitan Court of Bangladesh initially allowed a five-day remand to interrogate Mr. A. R Khan, which was later stayed by the High Court. As there is evidence of torture linked to police remand in South Asia, we believe that the trial courts of Bangladesh should be very careful in allowing the remand of persons arrested without any specific case, as with regards to Mr. A. R. Khan.

It was reported that about 10 plain-clothes officers from the Detective Branch of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police took Mr. A. R Khan into custody on the 10th of August 2013 from outside his residence in Dhaka. The men carried no arrest warrant with them at the time of forcible removal and SAHR is of the opinion that the manner in which Mr. A. R Khan was arrested and detained is wholly unconstitutional and in violation of his fundamental rights.

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SAHR Statement on International Women’s Day 2013


8th March 2013

South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders, joins the messages of solidarity expressed throughout the world to mark International Women’s Day on 8th March 2013.

This year, the UN theme for International Women’s Day is “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”, one that is unfortunately relevant to South Asia.

Global campaigns such as 16 days of activism and One Billion Rising are positive signs of an increasingly proactive approach from men and women, to stop violence against women. However, while SAHR acknowledges that there continues to be a shift in the attitude of many South Asian societies with regards to women’s equality and emancipation, still injustice, discrimination, and violence persist in the most terrible of forms.

Over the past year alone, acts of violence against women have captured the World’s attention; The attempted killing of a 15 year old women’s rights activist in Pakistan; The brutal gang rape and subsequent death of a student in Delhi; The recent ruling in the Maldives where a teenager was sentenced to 100 lashes, despite being the victim of rape; The execution of a Sri Lankan housemaid working in Saudi Arabia, after being held on death row for six years; The assassinations of two directors of the Department of Women’s Affairs in Laghman province, Afghanistan, for their work on women’s issues. These are just a few examples, and while the attention that these tragedies have received in the media and among the public are vital to redressing the wrongs that plague women in South Asia, firm action needs to be taken by South Asian societies and those that govern them. (more…)

SAHR condemns the execution of Rizana Nafeek


South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) condemns the execution of Rizana Nafeek, and expresses grave concern about the continuing vulnerability experienced by many migrant workers from South Asian countries.

Rizana was 17 years old when she traveled to Saudi Arabia, under forged documents, to be employed as a domestic worker. The child in her care died, and while she claimed it was accidental, she was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, over two years later.

Efforts to have her pardoned were championed by many, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, but contrary to some reports that she would soon be pardoned, she was executed on 9th January 2013. (more…)

SAHR release on the passing of Shri I K Gujral


South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) mourns the death of Shri I. K. Gujral, Former Prime Minister of India and the Founding Chair of SAHR. Shri Gujral made his mark as a global leader and a visionary for peace. An astute politician and a true statesman, he won respect and credibility not only in his own country but globally. He played a significant role in charting a course for better relations between India and Pakistan and his “Gujral Doctrine” has received acclaim and following amongst those sections of the population in both countries that value progress and development. (more…)

SAHR Statement on the International Day of the Disappeared, 2012


South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) joins human rights activists around the World in commemorating the International Day of the Disappeared.

The practice by State actors of forcibly disappearing and illegally detaining someone, without acknowledging their arrest or whereabouts, places the victim outside the protection of the law and is often linked to the crimes of torture and extra-judicial killings. (more…)

SAHR Statement on International Day in Support of Victims of Torture


26th June 2012

South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) joins human rights activists around the World, in commemorating the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. This year, the day marks the 25th anniversary of United Nations Convention Against Torture coming into effect.

Despite the fact that this Convention has been in force for a quarter century, only 147 States are party to it. Of the South Asian states, all but Bhutan have signed it, and India is yet to ratify the Convention. (more…)

Statement Issued by SAHR on International Women’s Day 2012


South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders, joins the messages of solidarity expressed throughout the world to mark International Women’s Day on March 8th, 2012.

This year, International Women’s Day is inspired by the theme of “Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty”. While this is a day for solidarity among women and a celebration of their accomplishments, it is also a day to remind the world that equal rights and opportunities for women are human rights imperatives and inalienable rights of women. (more…)

SAHR expresses concern over the coup in the Maldives


South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) expresses its concern over recent developments in Maldives, which have seen former President Nasheed step down, in what he and others have described as a coup.

Reports suggest that Mr Nasheed’s resignation follow violent protests that appear to be triggered by the arrest of a senior judge Abdulla Mohamed as well as the resignation of Maldivian SAARC Secretary General, Dhiyana Saeed.

It was also reported that some members of the opposition may have instigated the coup that forced Mr Nasheed’s departure from office. (more…)

Statement Addressed to the SAARC Heads of State by Members of SAHR on the occasion of the SAARC Summit Meeting at Addu – Maldives 10th-11th November 2011


On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a democratic regional network of human rights defenders committed to the protection and promotion of human rights at both national and regional levels, we welcome the convening of the 17th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit in Addu, Maldives from 10th–11th November 2011.

The formation of SAARC in 1985 raised strong hopes among people that it would lead to greater unity, loosening of artificial boundaries, and increased freedom of movement. Yet South Asia, which has a rich diversity of cultures, religions and ethnicities and nurtured pluralist societies, is today marked by divisive relations between governments, discrimination between communities and the persistence of poverty. There is an urgent need for a peaceful environment, people centred development and a meaningful realization of human rights and democratic governance. (more…)

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