Sri Lanka activist Ruki Fernando. Pic: AP.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The United States has expressed concerned over intensifying pressure on Sri Lanka’s civil society and human rights activists and is urging the government to ensure fundamental freedoms.

A State Department statement says it is especially concerned about the arrest of two prominent rights defenders, Ruki Fernando and the Rev. Praveen Mahesan, who were detained last week making nquiries about the arrest of another activist. Following international criticism, they were released two days later without charges but have been banned from traveling.

(MORE: Sri Lanka: Government rounds up activists as UN fudges on inquiry)

Sri Lanka is facing a U.S.-sponsored resolution at the current session of the U.N. Human Rights Council over its failure to conduct an inquiry into alleged war abuses and human rights violations in after the government defeated Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009.

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