Update to 2013 “Get on the Bus” Sri Lanka action:
The 2013 “Get on the Bus” action on Sri Lanka focused on ending the use of arbitrary detention by the Sri Lankan government. From 1983 until 2009, Sri Lanka experienced a brutal civil war between government forces and the separatist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who were seeking an independent state for the country’s Tamil minority in the north and east of the island. The war ended with a government victory over the LTTE. During the conflict, the Sri Lankan government used the repressive Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and other security legislation to detain without charge or trial thousands of suspected members or supporters of the LTTE. Many detainees were tortured in custody; some were killed or “disappeared.” These practices all violated international human rights law, which the Sri Lankan government has pledged to uphold.
Even after the defeat of the LTTE, the Sri Lankan government has continued to use the same unlawful tactics against peaceful critics (including journalists) that had been in place during decades of war. Our 2013 “Get on the Bus” action demanded that (1) the PTA be repealed and the system of administrative detention abolished, (2) all detainees be promptly released unless they are charged with recognizable crimes and given fair trials, and (3) the Sri Lankan government provide care and compensation to any detainees who were tortured and hold their torturers accountable.
Since our 2013 “Get on the Bus” action, there’s been little discernible progress on this issue. The Sri Lankan government has refused to repeal the PTA and has made several official statements about the need to remain vigilant against perceived terrorist threats. People in Sri Lanka are still being arbitrarily detained. Torture of detainees in custody is rampant, with more reports of detainees being killed in custody. The AI report released last year, “Sri Lanka’s Assault on Dissent,” documented how human rights defenders and others have been detained, harassed, threatened and even killed since the end of the war.
Amnesty International continues to campaign on this issue and to stand with all those whose human rights are being violated in Sri Lanka. We will not rest until justice is done.
Update to 2013 “Get on the Bus” Sudan action:
Our 2013 GOTB action called on the government of Sudan to protect all internally displaced persons and civilians, including halting all bombing and military attacks on villages by the Sudan Armed Forces, Popular Defense Forces and Janjaweed militia. We called for an end to impunity for atrocities, safe passage for civilians in conflict areas and access to humanitarian aid. We demanded an end to the arbitrary arrest and detention of students and human rights activists and to the use of torture. In 2013, President Bashir pledged to free all political prisoners, and at least 27 out of the 39 prisoners we posted Urgent Actions on were released; we are seeking information about the 12 others. Arbitrary arrests and detentions decreased. Aerial and ground attacks on civilians have continued in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Abyei, and attacks have escalated in North Kordofan and Darfur. Bashir and others indicted by the International Criminal Court remain at large. Peace talks with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North began in Ethiopia on February 13, 2014; there is a possibility they could increase the safety and well-being of civilians in Sudan.
AI page for the latest updates on Sudan: http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/sudan
Update to 2013 “Get on the Bus” Tibet and Burma actions:
See this year's Actions and Issues page
Interview with Lhamo Tso, Dhondup Wangchen's wife in 3 parts.