On Wednesday, the Sri Lankan parliament passed the Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill, which gives the army, navy and air force authority to run so-called rehabilitation centres. The legislation will give the increasingly hated regime of President Ranil Wickremesinghe the ability to incarcerate workers, youth and other political opponents in military-operated detention camps.
The bill, which was approved by the national cabinet and presented to parliament by Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, was passed with 23 votes in favour and 6 votes against. Only 29 MPs were present in the 225-seat parliament for the vote.
Parliamentarians from the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) voted for the bill with MPs from the opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)-led National People’s Power (NPP) opposing it.
Despite the rhetorical criticisms by SJB MPs during the debate, less than five of the party’s 54 parliamentarians were in parliament during the vote.