US Ambassador Julie Chung Expresses Concerns Over Sri Lanka's Continued Use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act

December 01, 2023

The United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung, has raised serious concerns regarding the persistent use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in the country. In a recent statement, Ambassador Chung highlighted the arrest of peaceful protesters and expressed unease about the treatment of detainees in prisons under the controversial legislation.

"It is concerning to hear about the continued use of the PTA, including to arrest peaceful protesters, and about the treatment of detainees in prisons," remarked Ambassador Chung. She emphasized the importance of upholding fundamental freedoms, particularly the right to freedom of expression and the humane treatment of individuals in custody.

The PTA, a legislation initially introduced to combat terrorism, has faced criticism over the years for its potential misuse and infringement on civil liberties. Ambassador Chung's statement comes at a crucial juncture as the Sri Lankan government is considering reforms and replacements for the PTA in alignment with international commitments.

Highlighting the significance of these reforms, Ambassador Chung urged the Sri Lankan government to prioritize the protection of fundamental freedoms during this transitional period. She emphasized the need for the government to ensure that any new legislation not only complies with international standards but also safeguards the rights of individuals, including those engaging in peaceful protests.

"As the government looks to replace the PTA in line with its international commitments and implement key reforms, it must protect fundamental freedoms," stated Ambassador Chung.