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Impact of the 'Prevention of Terrorism Act' on Human Rights in Sri Lanka : A Legal Perspective

Suren Perera (Sungkonghoe University)

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This thesis reviews the impact of ‘Prevention of Terrorism Act’ (PTA) on human rights in Sri Lanka by analyzing the most important provisions and their practical aspects. Most of these provisions constitute restrictions on fundamental rights guaranteed by the Sri Lankan Constitution and Internationa...
This thesis reviews the impact of ‘Prevention of Terrorism Act’ (PTA) on human rights in Sri Lanka by analyzing the most important provisions and their practical aspects. Most of these provisions constitute restrictions on fundamental rights guaranteed by the Sri Lankan Constitution and International human rights instruments and norms. I have referred to the practical aspects of PTA in order to give a better understanding about the impact of PTA on human rights in Sri Lanka. On the other hand, PTA was enacted in 1979 to counter terrorist activities in Sri Lanka and there were genuine threats to national security of the country until Sri Lankan Forces eliminated ‘Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’ (LTTE) in 2009. Therefore as I argue in this study, it is acceptable to have ante-terrorism legislation in Sri Lankan context, but the issue is whether this legislation is compatible with the international human rights conventions signed by Sri Lanka and fundamental rights guaranteed by the Sri Lankan Constitution. “Are the legislative measures adopted by Sri Lankan government to counter terrorism are compatible with international and constitutional human rights standards?” This is the basic question I have addressed to in my thesis. By doing so I have established the proper grounds as to why Sri Lanka should repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act in its present form and replace if necessary with legislation that is consistent with international anti-terrorism standards reflected in relevant United Nations instruments.
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CHAPTER 1 10
INTRODUCTION 10
1.1 Introduction 10
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CHAPTER 1 10
INTRODUCTION 10
1.1 Introduction 10
1.2 Background to the Study 11
1.3 A brief look at inception of the Prevention of Terrorism Act in Sri Lanka 13
1.4 Literature Review 15
1.5 Methodology 18
CHAPTER 2 19
THE REASONS TO HAVE AN ANTI-TERRORISM LEGISLATION IN SRI LANKA 19
2.1 Introduction 19
2.2 Terrorism Threats to the National Security in Sri Lanka 19
2.3 The Prevention of Terrorism Act as a Legal Response to Terrorism 21
2.4 Government’s Duty to Ensure the Security of the People 21
2.5 The Reasons to keep Prevention of Terrorism Act alive after the War 22
2.6 Conclusion 23
CHAPTER 3 24
ARREST AND DETENTION UNDER PTA AND ITS IMPACT ON CONSTITUTIONAL FREEDOMS AND HUMAN RIGHTS 24
3.1 Introduction 24
3.2 Arrest and Detention under PTA 24
3.3 Detention Orders and Restrictions under PTA 26
3.4 The Impact on Constitutional Freedoms and Human Rights 27
3.5 Practical aspects of Arrest, Detention and Detention Orders under PTA 32
3.6 Conclusion 35
CHAPTER 4 36
ADMISSIBILITY OF CONFESSIONS AND SHIFTING OF THE BURDEN OF PROOF UNDER PTA, AND ITS IMPACT ON CONSTUTUTIONAL FREEDOMS AND HUMAN RIGHTS 36
4.1 Introduction 36
4.2 Admissibility of Confessions and Shifting of the Burden of Proof under PTA 36
4.3 The Impact on Constitutional Freedoms and Human Rights 38
4.4 Practical aspects of Admissibility of Confessions and Shifting of the Burden of Proof under PTA 39
4.5 Conclusion 40
CHAPTER 5 41
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION UNDER PTA AND ITS IMPACT ON CONSTUTUTIONAL FREEDOMS AND HUMAN RIGHTS 41
5.1 Introduction 41
5.2 Prohibition of Publications under PTA 41
5.3 The Impact on Constitutional Freedoms and Human Rights 43
5.4 Practical Aspects of Restrictions on Freedom of Expression under PTA 46
5.5 Conclusion 48
CHAPTER 6 49
CONCLUSION 49
BIBLIOGRAPHY 51