12.7 C
London
Thursday, October 29, 2020

Sri Lanka’s constitutional crisis : ICG lists out steps for international community to consider

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

While Sirisena and Rajapaksa may currently have the upper hand, the outcome of the power struggle is still undecided. Influential governments and international institutions should support those who are peacefully challenging Rajapaksa’s appointment from within the country by sending strong messages that the unconstitutional move will bring significant costs for Sirisena, Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan state. They should continue to call on Sirisena to reverse his decision and allow parliament to reconvene with immediate effect, follow the constitutionally sanctioned process and allow the two sides to test their support through a vote of no confidence.

The U.S., EU, UK, Australia, India and all governments with influence should urge the military and police to enforce the law fairly and without bias and refrain from cracking down on peaceful protest by the UNP or citizens’ groups, as many fear is possible. They should make clear that they will reduce or end training programs and other forms of cooperation with Sri Lanka’s military and police if those bodies actively back Rajapaksa’s power grab.

Foreign governments and organisations also should reconsider any economic support linked to democratic governance. The EU should make clear that preferential trade benefits, only restored to Sri Lanka in 2017 thanks to its improved compliance with human rights treaties, could be lost again should Rajapaksa retain the premiership on the basis of an unconstitutional change of power.

The U.S. should immediately suspend the process for final approval of $450 million in economic development funding from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a program designed in part to reward good governance. Governments should also begin to consider applying targeted sanctions against Sirisena, Rajapaksa, their families and their close associates should Sri Lanka’s constitutional coup proceed.

 An unconstitutional change of power puts at risk Sri Lanka’s democracy itself. 

A reborn Sirisena-Rajapaksa alliance with illegitimate beginnings will increase concern among some member states of the UN Human Rights Council when it considers Sri Lanka’s situation in March 2019. Many governments on the council are already unhappy with the limited progress Sri Lanka has made in implementing the reforms stipulated in the Council’s 2015 resolution on reconciliation and accountability. This is particularly true with regard to Sri Lanka’s failure to investigate credible allegations of war crimes and grave human rights abuses that took place during Rajapaksa’s presidency, including by both government forces and the Tamil Tigers, whose separatist military campaign was defeated in May 2009. With a Rajapaksa-led government likely to scrap most, if not all, of the reforms the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government initiated, Council member states should commit to working toward a new resolution that will maintain its oversight role and continued reporting by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which will otherwise expire in March 2019.

Domestic and international resistance to Sri Lanka’s change of government is not about rescuing Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP. Their many mistakes over the past three and a half years have directly contributed to the difficult situation they face. But much more is at stake than the relative power of Sri Lanka’s different political parties. An unconstitutional change of power puts at risk Sri Lanka’s democracy itself, which, while deeply flawed and regularly failing to represent and protect ethnic and religious minorities, nonetheless has provided an important safety valve for conflict over the decades. To prevent Sri Lanka’s descent into a darker future, and to limit the risks of violence and lasting political instability this would bring, urgent action from within and outside the island is needed.

Brussels, 31 October 2018

Read the full report here 

- Advertisement -

Archive

Latest news

Sri Lanka: Vulnerable groups pay the price for militarisation of COVID-19 response

Image: (c)Shehan Gunasekara/Daily FT On 15 October, the Sri Lankan authorities imposed a curfew in parts of Katunayake Free Trade Zone (KFTZ) after hundreds of...

Sri Lankan Brigadier threatens medical staff in Sampathnuwara, Mullaitivu : “Bloody Tamil, I will kill you all”

Brigadier K. K. S. Parakum of Mechanized Infantry Regiment has entered the Sampathnuwara District Hospital a few days ago and threatened the medical staff...

Sovereign default risks to rise further in 2021; Sri Lanka among the high risk countries: Goldman Sachs

LONDON (Reuters) - Sovereign default risks are on course to rise further in 2021, with Iraq, Sri Lanka, Angola and Gabon at high probability...

UNESCO writes to Sri Lanka Govt on the “LankaGama road” being built across World Heritage property “Sinharaja Forest Reserve”

Image: Sinharaja Forest Reserve © Ko Hon Chiu Vincent / Ko Hon Chiu Vincen. The UNESCO World Heritage Centre has received numerous emails with third-party...

Related news

Sri Lanka: Vulnerable groups pay the price for militarisation of COVID-19 response

Image: (c)Shehan Gunasekara/Daily FT On 15 October, the Sri Lankan authorities imposed a curfew in parts of Katunayake Free Trade Zone (KFTZ) after hundreds of...

Sri Lankan Brigadier threatens medical staff in Sampathnuwara, Mullaitivu : “Bloody Tamil, I will kill you all”

Brigadier K. K. S. Parakum of Mechanized Infantry Regiment has entered the Sampathnuwara District Hospital a few days ago and threatened the medical staff...

Sovereign default risks to rise further in 2021; Sri Lanka among the high risk countries: Goldman Sachs

LONDON (Reuters) - Sovereign default risks are on course to rise further in 2021, with Iraq, Sri Lanka, Angola and Gabon at high probability...

UNESCO writes to Sri Lanka Govt on the “LankaGama road” being built across World Heritage property “Sinharaja Forest Reserve”

Image: Sinharaja Forest Reserve © Ko Hon Chiu Vincent / Ko Hon Chiu Vincen. The UNESCO World Heritage Centre has received numerous emails with third-party...
- Advertisement -