Sri Lanka’s President Announces Plans to End Emergency Laws

Posted August 25th, 2011 at 6:30 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa says he plans to end the country's strict wartime emergency laws, which have been in place for nearly 30 years.

Speaking to Parliament Thursday, Mr. Rajapaksa said that he believed there was no longer a need to have the laws since the country's civil war against Tamil Tiger separatists ended in 2009. He said abolishing the restrictions would help the country move ahead in a democratic way.

The government first imposed a state of emergency some three decades ago, removing it only for brief periods when Colombo entered into peace talks with the rebels. Lawmakers have renewed them on a monthly basis.

Rights groups have long criticized the laws, saying authorities used them to censor and crackdown on opposition activists.

Official statements earlier this year showed that Sri Lanka was holding thousands of people without trial under the laws. It is unclear if and when any of these people would be released following the president's speech.