MOD letterSri Lanka’s leading lawyers collective has slammed the circular issued to Non-Governmental Organisations by the National Secretariat for NGOs, under the Ministry of Defense and Urban Development. The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) says the said circular violates fundamental principles that govern Sri Lanka’s free and democratic society, which is guaranteed by the constitution.
BASL says the contents as well as the implications of the said circular is against the directive principles of state policy enshrined in the Chapter VI of the constitution as well as violation of freedom of Expression and Speech, freedom of Assembly and Association, Freedom of occupation as guaranteed by the Article 14 of the Sri Lankan Constitution.
“We observe that this attempt is nothing but yet another effort to silence the alternative public opinion of the society through inculcating fear psychosis among the section of the society enhancing the autocratic writ to a fearful height,” BASL said.
BASL notes that the circular is in gross violation of the fundamental rights of the polity and so it urged the authorities to revoke the “autocratic circular” that has the effect of bringing further damage to the country Nationally and Internationally.
Issued last week, the circular prevents NGOs from “conducting press conferences, workshops, journalism training and dissemination of press releases”. The circular claimed such activities are beyond the mandate of NGOs.