rights of Welikada prisoners, says CSHR
In its recommendations based on a study conducted at the Welikada
remand Prison, the Centre for the Study of Human Rights have stated
that prison staff should have access to training in areas relevant
to their professional development, such as psychology and sociology
with better facilities being provided to remand prisoners awaiting
of the study was to examine whether the human rights of remand prisoners
held in the Welikada prison were violated or respected by prison
authorities. In the study which was conducted over a period of three
months, 150 prisoners were interviewed and the simple observation
method was used. The study based on a survey was conducted by the
CSHR in 1998.
was made public a few days ago to coincide with world human rights
day. The report states that while every government is duty bound
to bring to justice those responsible for crimes, but in Sri Lanka
in certain instances the Judicial system seems to lack credibility.
This includes incidents where persons have been allegedly tortured
or ill treated by law enforcement officials.
The study reveals
how human rights standards are maintained within Sri Lanka's Judicial
system and how far the justice system is able to protect the rights
of remandees and meet international standards of fairness.
The study shows
that in the Welikada prisons both remand and convicted prisoners
were confined within the same premises except during the time they
spend in their cells. The Welikada prison does not have separate
cells for different types of offences nor do the officials differentiate
It was also
revealed that there are many reasons as to why remandees are detained
for long periods of time, one of which is the financial situation
of the detainees. The suspects held for minor offences may have
the chance to avoid spending time in remand prison by providing
surety bail but are unable to do so because of financial reasons.
prisoners was another issue that was looked into where regular incidences
of violence have been reported almost daily. A high incidence of
fights and beatings have also been noted. Violence among prisoners
is common and frequently reported, fights between rival groups are
daily occurrences. The causes for riots are generally due to the
shortage of food, lack of clothing and water and proper sanitation.
Among the recommendations
it has been proposed that prisoners under trial in jail, should
be given sufficient space, water and food the opportunity to write
letters to relatives and friends would further help defuse the tension.
Another suggestion is that prisoners are provided sufficient protection
from mental, physical and sexual abuse.