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Sri Lankan President Lifts Emergency Laws

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Aug. 25 (UPI) — Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Thursday lifted emergency laws that were imposed in 1983 at the start of the Tamil Tiger rebellion.

Rajapaksa, whose military put down the rebellion in May 2009, told Parliament there was no longer a need to extend the laws, the Sri Lankan government Web site reported.

“Today I propose to this assembly the withdrawal of the emergency laws to enable the country to conduct its affairs through its normal laws and in a democratic manner,” he was quoted as saying.

Sri Lankan opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe welcomed the announcement, saying it would be a good start to lay the foundation for a stronger democracy in Sri Lanka.

Human rights groups have said the laws had been used to put down dissent in the country, the Press Trust of India reported.

Rajapaksa said there has been no terrorist act on the island nation since the end of the Tiger rebellion, which was fought for a separate state for the Tamil-speaking minority.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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