Human rights concerns over Sri Lanka’s controversial plans for ‘rehabilitation centres’ for extremists

A plan to use the centres has raised fears they could be used to target the country’s Muslim minority and lead to human rights abuses, reports Lemma Shehadi

Saturday 29 May 2021 19:12 BST
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<p>A Sri Lankan Muslim woman, right in black attire, walks in a busy street of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, March 13, 2021. Sri Lanka has announced plans to ban the wearing of burqas and said it would close more than 1,000 Islamic schools known as madrassas</p>

A Sri Lankan Muslim woman, right in black attire, walks in a busy street of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, March 13, 2021. Sri Lanka has announced plans to ban the wearing of burqas and said it would close more than 1,000 Islamic schools known as madrassas

Since the Easter Sunday suicide bombings of 2019, which killed 269 people and injured over 500 in churches and hotels, Sri Lankan authorities have sought to combat the threat from violent Islamist groups.

In March the country issued a new regulation, under the country’s hotly debated Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), that could send hundreds of the island’s Muslims to rehabilitation centres controlled by the military.

Individuals who are suspected of holding extremist beliefs can be referred to a government-designated rehabilitation centre for up to 12 months, with the possibility of extension.

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