The Human Truth Foundation

Human Rights and Freedom in Sri Lanka

By Vexen Crabtree 2019


Comments:
FB, LJ

#buddhism #equality #freedom #human_rights #islam #politics #sri_lanka #tolerance

Sri Lanka
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

[Country Profile Page]
StatusIndependent State
CapitalColombo (administrative/judicial) and Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative)
Land Area 62 710km21
LocationAsia
Population21.2m (2011)2
Life Expectancy75.05yrs (2017)3
GNI$10 789 (2017)4
ISO3166-1 CodesLK, LKA, 1445
Internet Domain.lk6
CurrencyRupee (LKR)7
Telephone+948

Sri Lanka is generally poor at ensuring human rights and freedom compared to the rest of the world. Sri Lanka does better than average in eliminating modern slavery9 and in commentary from Human Rights Watch10. But unfortunately Sri Lanka gets most other things wrong. It does worse than average in opposing gender inequality11, fighting corruption12, its Global Peace Index rating13, its nominal commitment to Human Rights14, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms15 and in LGBT equality16. And finally, it falls into the bottom 20 in supporting press freedom17. "Sri Lankan police were not held accountable for routine torture and ill-treatment in custody", except for a few high-profile cases18 where the government bowed to international pressure. Over the last several decades, a class of Buddhist extremists have been targeting Muslims and other religious minorities in an attempt to cleanse Sri Lanka of non-Buddhist influences18 - the government has not been firm enough in protecting them nor in prosecuting offenders.


1. Politics and Freedom

#burundi #corruption #eritrea #france #freedom #human_development #human_rights #indonesia #mass_media #peace #politics #slavery #Sri_Lanka

Sri Lanka had pledged to the United Nations' Human Rights Council to work on reconciliation between factions after the 26-year civil war with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and on accountability for past actions, but, by 2017 progress had stalled18.

Corruption (2012-2016)12
Pos.Higher is better
Avg Score12
1Denmark90.8
2New Zealand90.6
3Finland89.4
...
88Trinidad & Tobago37.8
89Zambia37.8
90India37.6
91Sri Lanka37.6
92Panama37.4
93Morocco37.2
94Peru37.0
95Benin36.8
World Avg43.05
q=176.
Global Peace Index (2012)13
Pos.Lower is better13
1Iceland1.11
2New Zealand1.24
3Denmark1.24
...
99Madagascar2.12
100Liberia2.13
101Mali2.13
102Sri Lanka2.15
103Congo, (Brazzaville)2.15
104Kazakhstan2.15
105Saudi Arabia2.18
106Haiti2.18
World Avg2.02
q=157.
Human Rights Watch Comments (2017)10
Pos.Higher is better
Score10
1UK9
2France9
3Germany9
...
53Turkey-2
54Tunisia-2
55Mexico-2
56Sri Lanka-2
57S. Africa-2
58Singapore-2
59Haiti-2
60Serbia-3
World Avg-1.9
q=123.

Nominal Commitment to HR (2009)14
Pos.Higher is better
Treaties14
1Argentina24
2Chile23
3Costa Rica23
...
123Cameroon14
124Uzbekistan14
125Mauritania13
126Sri Lanka13
127Malawi13
128Zambia13
129Congo, (Brazzaville)13
130Ivory Coast13
World Avg15.1
q=194.
Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom (2014)15
Pos.Lower is better
Rank15
1Hong Kong1
2Switzerland2
3New Zealand3
...
127Guyana126
128Vietnam128
129Azerbaijan128
130Sri Lanka130
131Morocco131
132Niger132
133Sierra Leone133
134Swaziland134
World Avg79.7
q=159.
Press Freedom (2013)17
Pos.Lower is better17
1Finland638
2Netherlands648
3Norway652
...
158Pakistan5131
159Kazakhstan5508
160Rwanda5546
161Sri Lanka5659
162Saudi Arabia5688
163Uzbekistan6039
164Bahrain6275
165Equatorial Guinea6720
World Avg3249
q=178.

Slavery (2018)9
Pos.Lower is better
% Victims9
1Japan0.03
2Canada0.05
3Taiwan0.05
...
36Iceland0.21
37Oman0.21
38Panama0.21
39Sri Lanka0.21
40UK0.21
41Tunisia0.22
42Slovenia0.22
43Suriname0.23
World Avg0.65
q=167.

The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory19. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends20. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life21. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves22.

The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery23. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity24. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.

'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.25. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi9, Eritrea9, Indonesia26) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery27.

2. Gender Equality

#gender #misogyny #politics #Sri_Lanka #women

Gender Inequality (2015)11
Pos.Lower is better11
1Switzerland0.04
2Denmark0.04
3Netherlands0.04
...
84Rwanda0.38
85El Salvador0.38
86Peru0.39
87Sri Lanka0.39
88Ecuador0.39
89Colombia0.39
90S. Africa0.39
91Kyrgyzstan0.39
World Avg0.36
q=159.

Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchialism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.

Year Women Can Vote28
Pos.Lower is better
Year28
1New Zealand1893
2Australia1902
3Finland1906
...
32Turkmenistan1927
33UK1928
34S. Africa1930
35Sri Lanka1931
36Spain1931
37Maldives1932
38Uruguay1932
39Thailand1932
World Avg1930
q=189.

Sri Lanka has made some steps towards ending gender inequality but much more needs to be done.

See:

3. LGBT Equality and Tolerance

#equality #homosexuality #human_rights #intolerance #sexuality #Sri_Lanka #tolerance

LGBT Equality (2017)16
Pos.Higher is better
Score16
1Netherlands103
2Belgium90
3Sweden86
...
135Trinidad & Tobago-10
136S. Sudan-10
137Papua New Guinea-10
138Sri Lanka-10
139Antigua & Barbuda-10
140St Vincent & Grenadines-10
141Mauritius-10
142Myanmar (Burma)-10
World Avg12.6
q=196.

Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence29. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws30. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries29. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.

Sections 365 and 365A of the penal code are used to penalize and prosecute LGBT folk, and United Nations has specifically pointed out that this needless discrimination ought to end, but the Sri Lankan government rejected the comments18.

4. Sri Lanka Overall National and Social Development

#human_development #Sri_Lanka

Social & Moral
Development Index
31
Pos.Higher is better
Points31
1Denmark84.0
2Sweden83.9
3Finland83.5
...
92Bolivia52.8
93Dominican Rep.52.7
94Turkmenistan52.5
95Sri Lanka52.2
96El Salvador51.9
97Nepal51.9
98Suriname51.7
99Vietnam51.3
100Azerbaijan51.2
World Avg53.8
q=198.

The Social and Moral Development Index concentrates on moral issues and human rights, violence, public health, equality, tolerance, freedom and effectiveness in climate change mitigation and environmentalism, and on some technological issues. A country scores higher for achieving well in those areas, and for sustaining that achievement in the long term. Those countries towards the top of this index can truly said to be setting good examples and leading humankind onwards into a bright, humane, and free future. See: What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life.

5. Freedom of Belief and Religion

#buddhism #sri_lanka

Over the past several decades a rechanchivist Buddhist-nationalist movement has taken to extremism and violence in an attempt to curb "pagan" non-Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Religious minorities remain at risk and there are few protections for minorities, although in 2017 on one occasion the government did protect 31 Rohingya Muslim refugees by taking them into custody after threats of violence from Buddhist extremists18. On other occasions in 2017 "flares of violence in Galle and Vavuniya [possibly involved] mobs attacking Muslim homes and businesses"18. Although the extremists are opposed by liberal-minded Buddhist communities, the extremists have widespread ongoing support from Buddhist communities.

Current edition: 2019 Jan 01
http://www.humantruth.info/sri_lanka_human_rights_and_freedom.html
Parent page: Sri Lanka (Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka)

All #tags used on this page - click for more:

#buddhism #burundi #corruption #equality #eritrea #france #freedom #gender #homosexuality #human_development #human_rights #indonesia #intolerance #islam #mass_media #misogyny #peace #politics #sexuality #slavery #Sri_Lanka #tolerance #women

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References: (What's this?)

Book Cover

Casely-Hayford, Gus
(2012) The Lost Kingdoms of Africa. Published by Bantram Press. A hardback book.

Crabtree, Vexen
(2019) "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life" (2019). Accessed 2019 Jan 13.

Donnelly, Jack
(2013) Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice. 3rd edition. Published by Cornell University Press.

The Fraser Institute
(2016) The Human Freedom Index. Published by The Cato Institute, The Fraser Institute and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. Covers data up to 2014. On www.fraserinstitute.org/.../human-freedom-index-2016.

Human Rights Watch
(2018) World Report 2018. Covering the events of 2017.

Klein, Naomi
(2004) No Logo. Originally published 2000, HarperCollins, London, UK. A paperback book.

McCall, Andrew
(1979) The Medieval Underworld. 2004 edition. Published by Sutton Publishing. A paperback book.

Thomson, Oliver
(1993) A History of Sin. Published by Canongate Press. A hardback book.

United Nations
(2011) Human Development Report. Published by the UN Development Programme. This edition had the theme of Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All. Available on hdr.undp.org/... UN Development Program: About the Human Development Index.
(2017) Human Development Report. Published by the UN Development Programme. Data for 2015. Available on hdr.undp.org/.

Walk Free Foundation
(2018) Global Slavery Index. Published on www.walkfreefoundation.org/.

Footnotes

  1. World Bank data on data.worldbank.org accessed 2013 Nov 04.^
  2. UN (2011) .^
  3. UN (2017). Table 1.^
  4. UN (2017). Gross National Income, per person. Table 1.^
  5. International Standards Organisation (ISO) standard ISO3166-1, on www.iso.org, accessed 2013 May 01.^
  6. Top level domains (TLDs) are managed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) on www.iana.org.^
  7. According to ISO4217.^
  8. According to ITU-T.^
  9. Walk Free Foundation (2018) .^^
  10. Human Rights Watch (2018). Negative and positive comments have been added to create a score for each country covered in the report.^^
  11. UN (2017). Table 5. Lower is better.^^
  12. Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (2017). Accessed 2017 Dec 30. The scores given are the TI average for the years 2012-2016.^^
  13. ^^
  14. Max possible=24. Total amount of treaties ratified. Nominal Commitment to Human Rights report published by UCL School of Public Policy, London, UK, at ucl.ac.uk/spp/research/research-projects/nchr accessed 2011 Apr 30.^^
  15. Fraser Institute, the (2016). Covers data for 2014.^^
  16. Sources:^^
  17. Reporters Without Borders Report "2013 World Press Freedom Index: Dashed hopes after spring" at fr.rsf.org/.../classement_2013_gb-bd.pdf accessed 2013 Feb.^^
  18. Human Rights Watch (2018). p507-512.^^^^
  19. Thomson (1993). p28.^
  20. McCall (1979). p180.^
  21. Thomson (1993). p166.^
  22. Casely-Hayford (2012). p253.^
  23. Thomson (1993). p31.^
  24. Thomson (1993). p199.^
  25. Thomson (1993). p28-29.^
  26. Klein (2004) .^
  27. Walk Free Foundation (2018). p2.^
  28. "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life: 2.9. Women Stand for Election & Vote" by Vexen Crabtree (2019)^
  29. Donnelly (2013). Chapter 16 "Nondiscrimination for All: The Case of Sexual Minorities" p278.^
  30. Donnelly (2013). Chapter 16 "Nondiscrimination for All: The Case of Sexual Minorities" p289. According to a 1992 ruling of the Human Rights Committee, which declared that 'it is undisputed that adult consensual sexual activity in private is covered by the concept of privacy' when discussing Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. See Human Rights Committee, Communication 488/1992, paragraph 8.2.^
  31. "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life" by Vexen Crabtree (2019)^

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