Recent campaigns and successes
Over the past few years we have:
- Successfully campaigned against Police Scotland’s training of Sri Lankan police, which ended in November 2021 thanks to sustained pressure from human rights organisations. Police Scotland’s training provided an image of legitimacy to the Sri Lankan police force, which has been implicated in torture, extrajudicial killing, and other human rights violations.
- Successfully opposed the deployment of Sri Lankan peacekeepers on the basis of unaddressed allegations of grave human rights abuses by the military. Our efforts contributed to the announcement of a moratorium on the deployment of non-essential Sri Lankan troops to UN peacekeeping missions – helping to affirm the principle that peacekeeping is a privilege and not a right.
- Publicly challenged the government of Sri Lanka’s record on the use of cluster munitions. In June 2019, we attended the annual state party meeting of the international Convention on Cluster Munitions (CMC) to share evidence about the ongoing plight of Tamil cluster munitions survivors, and call out the government of Sri Lanka’s leadership on this issue.
- Published a major report amplifying the views and wishes of victims and survivors ten years on from the end of the armed conflict, and setting out the continued case for criminal accountability and how to achieve it.
- Exposed and de-bunked efforts by a British politician to discredit credible UN estimates of the scale of civilian casualties during the Sri Lankan civil war. Our findings were put on record in a House of Lords debate.
- Published a major opinion-forming report exposing the government of Sri Lanka’s ongoing surveillance, harassment and intimidation of Tamil activists and victims in Sri Lanka’s North. Our findings helped inform the reports of UN experts working on this issue.
- Campaigned in support of Tamil relatives of the disappeared by calling on the government to #ReleaseTheList of all those who surrendered themselves to the armed forces at the end of the war. Our call was supported by MPs, like-minded victims’ groups from the global south, and thousands of members of the public – elevating the international profile of the issue and prompting a reply from the highest levels of the Sri Lankan government.
- Helped safeguard dozens of “at-risk” activists, victims and human rights defenders. We pushed to secure the release of detained human rights activists Ruki Fernando and Fr Praveen, as well as that of jailed mother of the disappeared Jeyakumary Balendran. We regularly work to support individuals who are in danger, or who have been unjustly targeted or had their due process rights violated – working to shine a spotlight on the issues and ensure decision-makers to act.
- Launched a major campaign exposing and challenging the Sri Lankan military’s involvement in the tourism sector. Our campaign has been featured in a number of high-profile publications (including Lonely Planet), helping thousands of tourists to make informed choices about the human rights impact of their visit – and ensuring that it is local communities, rather than alleged human rights abusers, who stand to benefit.
- Helped to put – and keep – Sri Lanka on the formal agenda of the UN Human Rights Council. We formed part of a powerful coalition of civil society groups and concerned citizens, whose pressure resulted in the government of Sri Lanka committing itself to comprehensive truth and justice process designed to deal with the legacy of the war under HRC Resolution 30/1. We published two major reports (here and here), backed by a public campaign, to help bring the voices of victims and survivors to bear on this process. Over the past few years, we have continued to critically scrutinise the government of Sri Lanka’s inadequate progress through a series of score-card reports, and to advocate for tougher responses at the Council, resulting in two further HRC resolutions (34/1 and 40/1).
- Helped secure a UN Human Rights Council mandated international investigation into allegations of war-time atrocities. That report – the ‘OISL report’ – was published in September 2015 and found credible evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity by both parties to the conflict.
- Commissioned a report using cutting-edge satellite image analysis to challenge the Sri Lankan military’s claims about how stolen land in the North of the country is being used.
- Published a major opinion-forming report featuring allegations of ongoing crimes against humanity in the North of Sri Lanka
- Launched a major campaign around the 2014 Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, which forced the British Foreign Secretary to commit to taking action on asylum seekers from Sri Lanka
Impressed by the work that we do? Then please consider making a donation to the campaign today to ensure that we can keep fighting for a just and lasting peace in Sri Lanka.