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Petition filed against new rehabilitation bill alleging “militarization of rehabilitation process”

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COLOMBO (News 1st) – The former Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Ambika Satkunathan has filed a petition at the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka challenging the Bill titled “Bureau of Rehabilitation Act”, emphasizing that the provisions of Bill are inconsistent with the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of Sri Lanka.The petition states that the Bill purports to establish a Bureau for the rehabilitation of “drug dependant persons, ex-combatants, members of violent extremist groups and any other group of persons who require treatments and rehabilitation”.Moreover, the petitioner alleges that these categories have not been properly defined and do not clarify how persons may qualify for rehabilitation under these categories, in addition to assuming that “members of violent extremist groups” and “drug dependent persons” require that same approach to rehabilitation.

The Bill, Sathkunathan states, uses vague and arbitrary classifications, leading to persons being detained for rehabilitation for even participating in protests, as recent arrests of protestors under the Prevention of Terrorism Act have demonstrated.

The petitioner further states that under this bill, the rehabilitation process has been militarized, and allows the President to designate any member of the armed forces to exercise, perform and discharge the powers, duties and functions under the Act.The petitioner therefore requests the Supreme Court to declare several sections of the Bill as outlined in the petition inconsistent with the Constitution of Sri Lanka as they violate the fundamental rights and Sovereignty of the People..

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