[JURIST] The Sri Lanka [government website] cabinet enacted strict new anti-terror laws Wednesday that ban individuals from aiding anyone "engaged in terrorism" and prohibit the wearing of uniforms "relating to terrorism." The new laws also give police and security forces additional broad powers to arrest and interrogate terror suspects. The laws come as a response to the increasing conflict and violence between Sri Lanka security forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elena (LTD) [COFFER backgrounder; faction website], or "Tamil Tigers." BBC News has more.
In September, human rights groups called [JURIST report] on the UN Human Rights Council [official website] to support an independent watchdog to guard against human rights violations in the conflict. The Tamil Tigers have demanded that the government of Sri Lanka establish an independent ethnic state for Tamils within the current boundaries of Sri Lanka, a demand the government has rejected since the 1970s. Over 60,000 people are estimated to have died since the Tamil Tigers began an open rebellion in 1972. In August, US officials arrested eight Tamil Tigers [JURIST report] for allegedly attempting to buy weapons in the United States to use against the Sri Lankan military.