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UN experts call to immediately suspend ‘Yukthiya’ anti-drug operation

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A high-level group of United Nations experts have called on the Government of Sri Lanka to immediately halt Operation Yukthiya, its anti-narcotics drive that has resulted in more than 30,000 people being arrested in just over a month.

“The UN experts expressed alarm at the heavy security-driven approach of Sri Lanka’s drug response. They called on authorities to immediately suspend and review so-called Operation ‘Yukthiya’ and to focus on policies based on health and human rights,” the statement said.

“Drug users have human rights,” the experts said. “They deserve to live a life with dignity without facing further discrimination and stigmatisation.”

The experts include the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention comprising Priya Gopalan (Chair-Rapporteur), Matthew Gillett (Vice-Chair on Communications), Miriam Estrada-Castillo, and Mumba Malila; Margaret Satterthwaite, Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers; Tlaleng Mofokeng, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. 

They deplored reported cases of arbitrary arrests of thousands of drug offenders from marginalised socio-economic groups, and the detention of hundreds in compulsory military-run rehabilitation centres. Torture and ill-treatment were also reported during the security operation known as ‘Yukthiya’.

“The current context of severe repression against suspected drug offenders is deeply worrying,” the experts said.They stressed that rehabilitation must be conducted from a harm-reduction perspective, respecting the autonomy and informed consent of drug users, including the right to refuse medication.

“Compulsory rehabilitation centres should be closed immediately and replaced by voluntary, evidence-based, rights-based and community-based social services,” said the experts, who stand ready to provide technical cooperation.

They urged Sri Lankan authorities to investigate thoroughly and impartially any allegations of torture, ill-treatment and denial of due process and fair trial rights.

“Irregularities in the judicial process of sending people to rehabilitation centres should also be investigated,” the experts said.

They called on the Government to review its current legislation on drug offences and to end the involvement of armed forces in drug control and treatment activities, in line with international human rights law and standards.

(News 1st) 

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by News1st has not been edited by SLM staff)

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This week’s Cabinet decisions

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A number of decisions have been taken at the Cabinet meeting held yesterday (June 24).

The decisions taken by the Cabinet of Ministers are as follows :

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GoSL pledges to support upcoming Bora Conference

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The Sri Lankan government has pledged full support for the Bora community’s upcoming spiritual conference and annual convention.

Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff, Sagala Ratnayaka, directed officials to ensure the event’s success during a meeting at the Presidential Secretariat.

The conference will be held at the Bambalapitiya Bora Mosque and the Sri Lanka Convention and Exhibition Centre from July 07 – 16.

This event will coincide with the Bora community’s spiritual conference in Karachi, Pakistan, and is expected to attract around fifteen thousand participants from various countries, including India.

The meeting highlighted the need for necessary infrastructure and facilities, particularly at the airport, to accommodate the large influx of attendees.

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8,000 UDA flat dwellers to get title deeds

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Urban Development and Housing Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said yesterday that arrangements have been made to provide title deeds to 8,000 residents of the apartments owned by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) next month, under the Government’s programme to provide title deeds to dwellers in such apartments in Colombo.

In addition, the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) has also planned to give 1,070 title deeds to dwellers living in apartments in Colombo.

He said that this programme will be implemented according to the pledge given by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in the last Budget that 50,000 Colombo flat owners will be given their title deeds.

According to the UDA, 14,559 units of the 22 housing complexes have been given to low-income people.

Accordingly, the granting of title deeds will be made focusing on UDA housing projects of Mihindu Senpura, Sirisara Garden, Methsara Garden, Lakmuthu Sewana, and Sirimuthu Garden under the first phase.

In addition, title deeds of Laksandha Sevana, Randiya Uyana, Lakmuthu Uyana, Muwadora Uyana, Siyapath Sevana, Puradora Sevana, Jayamaga Sevana, Mihijaya Sevana, Helamuthu Sevana, Laksetha Sevana and Lakhiru Sevana housing projects are to be given to its dwellers before the end of this year.

The NHDA will first issue the title deeds for the apartments that have been built in the Colombo Municipal Council areas.

Transferring of ownerships of these houses to dwellers has been delayed due to the problematic situation arising from certain related rules and regulations. The Minister emphasised that he has already discussed with the Attorney General and obtained the necessary advice in this regard.

Minister Ranatunga further stated that all Colombo flat owners will be given their title deeds before the end of this year.

After giving the deeds to the owners of these houses, it is expected to carry out maintenance and management of these houses by a joint management corporation which will be established with the representation of the resident population.

An amount of Rs. 2 billion has been allocated in the 2024 Budget for providing ‘Urumaya’ freehold deeds to all who are eligible to receive and confirm landownership in the next two months.

(dailynews.lk)

 (This story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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