Sri Lanka


Systematic violations of rights

Same as last year

Workers' rights violations

Right to free speech and assembly

On 27 May 2021 the government of Sri Lanka issued a decree making it almost impossible for 12,000 village government officers to strike, and it stripped hundreds of thousands of other public sector workers of their basic rights. The decree was a response to a threatened strike by the government officers who were demanding COVID-19 vaccinations. The decree claimed that the government services and departments under the strike ban were “essential” in the “face of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The union representing village workers had to immediately call off the impending industrial action.

Right to civil liberties

Police arrested 31 people, including the general secretary of the Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU), on 8 July 2021 for taking part in a protest held near Sri Lanka’s parliament against the proposed National Defence University (NDU) bill. The bill, first presented in 2018 under the previous government, has been widely denounced as a move intended to curb freedom of thought and expression in universities. Arrested workers were held for several days until a campaign for their release, supported by global trade unions, led to their being freed.

Workers’ rights in law

All countries