HRW urges major creditors to help mitigate impacts of Sri Lanka's economic crisis

NewsDrum Desk
24 Nov 2022

Colombo, Nov 24 (PTI) Human Rights Watch on Thursday urged Sri Lanka's major foreign creditors, including India and China, to help Colombo restructure its debt to "mitigate the adverse human rights impacts" of the country's worst-ever economic crisis.

In a report released by the human rights organisation titled "Sri Lanka at Brink of Humanitarian Crisis," the government's lack of respect for human rights in the debt-struck island nation was highlighted.

The report by HRW's South Asia Director Meenakshi Ganguly, took note of Sri Lankan authorities' crackdown on peaceful protests in the face of the country's worst economic crisis, with food price inflation at over 85 per cent.

It stated that to stabilise the economy, international creditors should agree to restructure Sri Lanka’s debt so the country can secure final approval for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan and financing from other global agencies, to keep the economic situation from deteriorating rapidly.

The report stressed that Sri Lankan president Ranil Wickremesinghe's administration should respect fundamental rights, including peaceful protest.

"President Ranil Wickremasinghe has suppressed demonstrations and has used the notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to detain student activists. Wickremasinghe has even warned that he will again declare a state of emergency and deploy security forces in the event of major protests," the report said, adding that in such situations, which lack respect for human rights, Sri Lankans cannot hold politicians accountable.

It urged Sri Lanka’s major foreign creditors, including China, Japan and India, to urgently mitigate the adverse human rights impacts of the country's economic crisis.

The report advised the IMF to use its procedures to make the needed funds available to the country as soon as possible, putting into place safeguards to protect people's economic and social rights.

The IMF bailout package of USD 2.8 billion would help ease the crippling shortage of foreign exchange and unlock access to other global funding, which cannot provide new funding until the IMF agreement is completed. PTI GRS LANKA-CREDITORS-HRWAKJ GRS

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