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05-Sep-2016 06:46

, in collaboration with the Sri Lankan LGBTI human rights group, Equal Ground, alleged that the police harassed and extorted money or sexual favours from LGBTI individuals with impunity – and also violently assaulted LGBTI people., also published in 2014, concluded that LGBTI Sri Lankans suffered high levels of sexual, emotional and physical violence.In October 2014, in a written response to the United Nations Human Rights Committee’s questions about Sri Lanka’s failure to protect LGBTI people from widespread discrimination, A government spokesperson said: “Article 12 of the Sri Lankan Constitution recognises non-discrimination based on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, sex, political opinion, place of birth or any one of such grounds as a Fundamental Right.This measure protects persons from stigmatization and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identities.” LGBTI activists like Equal Ground Director Rosanna Flamer-Caldera saw this statement as a “breakthrough”, as it was “the first time the Sri Lankan government has ever said anything like that before”.Because of criminalisation, there is no legal redress and LGBTI victims of discrimination and hate crime are at risk of police abuses, including the threat to charge them on account of their sexuality or gender non-conformity.Rosanna believes the Sri Lankan government is guilty of having pushed a hateful agenda that has negatively influenced social attitudes, particularly during President Rajapaksa’s rule.

In June 2015, calling for the withdrawal of partner benefits to LGBTI UN employees.However, there is still a long way to go before equality is achieved.Sri Lanka has a duty to comply with international human rights law by repealing its draconian anti-LGBTI statutes and legislating explicit legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status.Section 365A punishes “any act of gross indecency” with a jail term of up to two years and a fine.

These provisions are interpreted to criminalise consensual sex between men.Fearing a threat to their security, Equal Ground’s public events had to be postponed.