Just days after the Sri Lankan government decided to put an end to its controversial emergency laws, it has introduced new legislation allowing it to continue detaining terror suspects without charge.

Tuesday the government, which has been under growing international pressure, announced the end of emergency laws, which were introduced during the war against the Tamil Tiger rebels.

The news was widely welcomed and the government appeared to relax its policies with Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem telling the BBC in an interview that more than 1,000 suspects detained under the draconian emergency laws were likely to be freed next month.

"Between 1,200 and 1,500 people in detention may get released but there are some more who need to be kept in custody," he said.

Those remaining in jail were described by Hakeem as "hard-core terrorist suspects" who were likely to remain in detention until charged.

While analysts and activists welcomed the end of emergency laws, they warned the introduction of the new law, which the government says is just an extension of the existing Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), will allow the government to keep an undisclosed number of the suspects, who would have been freed following the expiry of the state of emergency in prison

The long-running Sri Lankan civil war ended in 2009, as the Colombo government claimed victory over the insurgents after a bloody military operation that killed thousands of people and displaced many more.

Tamil separatists fought a long conflict against the Army, involving air raids, roadside blasts, suicide bombings, land and sea battles. The war originally started in 1983 and more than 80,000 people have allegedly died.

While there is a long-established Tamil minority in the north and east, during colonisation by the British, the latter brought Tamil labourers to work the coffee and tea plantations in the central highlands, making the island a major tea producer.

The majority Buddhist Sinhalese community responded badly to what they understood to be favouritism and tensions between the two groups started to raise.

Independence saw the assertion of Sinhala nationalism which further deepened ethnic division until civil war erupted in the 1980s between Tamils pressing for self-rule and the government.

While most of the fighting took place in the north, the conflict also spread further in the country as Tamil Tiger rebels carried out suicide bombings in Colombo in the 1990s.

International concern was raised about the fate of civilians caught up in the conflict zone during the final stages of the war. More than 250,000 Tamils ended up in refugees camps for months while allegations that the government had ordered the execution of captured or surrendering rebels also surfaced and earlier this year a UN-commissioned report said both government and Tamil forces had committed war crimes.

International pressure has been growing as after the Tamil Tigers' defeat the government said that about 12,000 insurgents were remanded in custody and despite officials insisting most of them have been freed during the past two years, activists have warned the remaining prisoners should also be freed.

Despite ending the state of emergency, the government has shown it will use anti-terrorism laws to have the right to keep suspects in custody despite fears of human rights violations, proving that processes of reconciliation and reintegration are yet to be given priority.