Rights groups demand Sri Lanka police to stop 'human rights abuses'

Amidst Police Scotland's decision to stop training of Sri Lankan Police, country's civil society groups and lawyers have urged the police chief to stop the alleged human rights violations by cops and "convert his institution to one that respect human rights".

Writing to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana Wickramaratne nearly 60 civil society activists and organisations have insisted to investigate the killings of suspects while in police custody.

The demand came following the latest killing of a suspect in police custody on November 25. The suspect had been killed despite his lawyer had complained to the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), the professional body representing almost all lawyers and judges in the country, alerted that his client would be killed in the police custody.

The BASL President had immediately alerted the IGP, Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) and other rights organisation but despite all these, the following morning the police announced that the suspect was killed during a shootout.

The BASL has urged the IGP to explain his "failure" to protect the suspect who was in police custody.

The case of alleged killing in police custody, came just two days after Police Scotland announced that it ends training of Sri Lankan police due to its human rights abuses.

Chief Constable of Police Scotland, Iain Livingstone had stated that it will not seek to renew the contract with Sri Lanka police, which was going on since 2010 after it expires in March 2022.

However, when contacted by IANS, Police Media Spokesman SSP Nihal Thalduwa denied ending of any training agreement with the Police Scotland.

"We had to stop training due to travel restrictions with Covid-19. We have not been informed by the Police Scotland or the British High Commission in Colombo about suspension of training," SSP Thalduwa.

The Police Scotland had been criticised by British politicians and human rights activist including Amnesty International for continuing training Sri Lankan police despite its record on torture, arbitrary arrests and deaths in custody.

Following the announcement by Police Scotland's Chief Constable, members of the UK parliament had urged for an inquiry into the services and international clients of the national force.

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