Since the election of President Maithripala Sirisena in January, Sri Lanka has shown a new willingness to acknowledge past abuses and commit to reforms.
At the 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in September Sri Lanka promised to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and enact a domestic law making enforced disappearance a crime.
It made a number of other important commitments to enact legal and security sector reforms that Amnesty International had long recommended. These included promises to repeal the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act and replace it with legislation that meets international standards; to review the cases of detainees held for long periods without charge or trial and ensure the release of those without evidence against them; ensure effective witness protection; consult with victims and families in the design of truth and justice mechanisms; release reports of past inquiries into alleged human rights violations; and extend invitations to UN Special Procedures. Amnesty International believes these to be vital steps to protect human rights and account for the past.