OHCHR / SRI LANKA

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05-Apr-2022 00:02:07
“There have also been reports of excessive and unwarranted police violence against protesters. We are concerned that such measures were aimed at preventing or discouraging people from legitimately expressing their grievances through peaceful protests and frustrated the public views on matters of interest,” an OHCHR spokesperson said. UNTV CH

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STORY: OHCHR / SRI LANKA
TRT: 02:07
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 05 APRIL 2022 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:
1. Wide shot, exterior, UN Geneva
2. Wide Shot, briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, spokesperson, UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR): “Public frustration had been rising in recent months with largely peaceful demonstrations taking place across the country. But the situation worsened over the past two weeks amid sudden shortages in fuel, cooking gas, and some essential food items, as well as power cuts. This led to further protests by Sri Lankans left desperate by the rising cost of living and difficulties to obtain basic items.”
4. Wide Shot, briefing room
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson, UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR): “There have also been reports of excessive and unwarranted police violence against protesters. We are concerned that such measures were aimed at preventing or discouraging people from legitimately expressing their grievances through peaceful protests and frustrated the public views on matters of interest.”
7. Med shot, journalists
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, spokesperson, UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR):
“We remind the Sri Lankan authorities that measures related to states of emergency must comply with international human rights law, should be limited to the extent strictly required by the situation and be proportion it to it, and should not be used to stifle dissent or hinder peaceful protest.”
9. Close up, journalist typing
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, spokesperson, UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR):
“The UN Human Rights Office will continue to closely watch developments. As the High Commissioner noted in her recent report to the Human Rights Council in February, the drift towards militarization and the weakening of institutional check and balances in Sri Lanka have affected the State’s ability to effectively tackle the economic crisis and ensure the realization of the economic, social, and cultural rights of all people in Sri Lanka.”
11. Wide Shot, briefing room
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, spokesperson, UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR):
“The High Commissioner has also previously voiced her concern that the Government responds to criticism and dissent in ways that undermine civic space, and we reiterate these concerns today.”
13. Close up, journalist typing

STORYLINE:
“There have also been reports of excessive and unwarranted police violence against protesters. We are concerned that such measures were aimed at preventing or discouraging people from legitimately expressing their grievances through peaceful protests and frustrated the public views on matters of interest,” an OHCHR spokesperson said.

At the bi-weekly press briefing on Tuesday, Liz Throssell, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR), made the following comments on the latest developments in Sri Lanka, where, in the past few days, authorities announced a state of emergency and other restrictions in response to mass protests against the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.

“Public frustration had been rising in recent months with largely peaceful demonstrations taking place across the country. But the situation worsened over the past two weeks amid sudden shortages in fuel, cooking gas, and some essential food items, as well as power cuts. This led to further protests by Sri Lankans left desperate by the rising cost of living and difficulties to obtain basic items,” the UN Human Rights spokesperson stated.

After a demonstration outside the President’s private residence on 31 March, the Government declared a state of emergency on 1 April, announced a 36-hour curfew from 6 p.m. on 2 April, and shut down social media networks for some 15 hours on 3 April.

Throssell reminded the Sri Lankan authorities that “measures related to states of emergency must comply with international human rights law, should be limited to the extent strictly required by the situation and be proportion it to it, and should not be used to stifle dissent or hinder peaceful protest.”

The UN Human Rights spokesperson further commented: “the UN Human Rights Office will continue to closely watch developments. As the High Commissioner noted in her recent report to the Human Rights Council in February, the drift towards militarization and the weakening of institutional check and balances in Sri Lanka have affected the State’s ability to effectively tackle the economic crisis and ensure the realization of the economic, social, and cultural rights of all people in Sri Lanka.”

Throssell concluded: “The High Commissioner has also previously voiced her concern that the Government responds to criticism and dissent in ways that undermine civic space, and we reiterate these concerns today.”
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