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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Joint statement: Ensure the people’s rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression

At a time when the country is facing a huge economic crisis and even the right to life of the people of the country has been violated, as civil organizations, Trade Unions and civil activists, we strongly condemn the shameless and brutal attack carried out by using the police and the army at the peaceful demonstration (Satyagraha) conducted by social activists, civil society organizations and citizens protesting the government’s use of public wealth to hold the 75th Independence Day celebrations.

The attack on this Sathyagraha, which was held without any kind of disturbance or public blockade, in accordance with the orders imposed by the court regarding the holding of protests and demonstrations, especially on the days of the state independence celebration, is absolutely a terrifying reflection of the current situation of the right to freedom of assembly and protest to showcase the dissent of the citizens of Sri Lanka.

Along with these attacks, the police have even violated the basic rights of the arrested social activists by violating their right to get medical assistance or legal services.

At the same time, the government tried to disrupt the march organized by North East student organizations and the protest organized by social movements led by the Inter-University Students’ Federation.

The freedom of a country is the freedom for the people of that country to enjoy their basic rights and live as dignified citizens. In the name of celebrating freedom, the current government is taking away the same right that we have as citizens of this country.

Due to the unprecedented economic crisis, the people of the country are currently facing huge problems. The majority of the country’s population is unable to meet even their basic needs due to problems such as increasing cost of living, lack of essential goods including medicines, job losses, and tax burden. Tamil and Muslim communities, plantation workers and Malaiyaha communities, who were oppressed by the war and racist politics, are still suffering after the so-called ‘independence’ due to the deprivation of their rights.

Throughout these 75 years of independence, instead of resolving the burning issues and challenges faced by people in this country, every administration this country has seen has continuously tried to suppress the people who have raised their voices about it.

We would like to remind you that the primary cause of the huge economic, political and social crises that Sri Lanka is currently facing is the arbitrary, capricious, and repressive practices adopted by governments that ruled the country from time to time.

Therefore, we believe that the government’s current repressive practices will exacerbate these crises instead of solving them.

Peaceful assembly and protest are fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of Sri Lanka. This government is arbitrarily violating that right. Therefore, we ask the national and international human rights organizations, civil society movements and citizens to intervene decisively to protect the fundamental rights and right to life of the people.

For more information please contact – Sandun Thudugala: 0773727271 / [email protected]

Signatories;

Individuals

  1. A. Jesudasan
  2. Ainslie Joseph
  3. Amali Wedagedara
  4. Anitra Varia
  5. Anthony Vinoth
  6. Anushaya Collure
  7. Ashila Dandeniya
  8. B.Gowthaman
  9. Balasingham Skanthakumar
  10. Bharatha Prabhashana THENNAKOON
  11. Bhavani Fonseka
  12. Bishop Duleep de Chickera, Anglican Church of Sri Lanka
  13. Bishop Kenneth Fernando
  14. Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe
  15. C. Tozer – Women’s Rights Activist
  16. Chandra Devanarayana
  17. Chandra Jayaratne
  18. Chandrika Gadiewasam – Freelance Writer
  19. Christine Perera – Health and Animal Activist
  20. Chulani Kodikara
  21. Deekshya Illangasinghe
  22. Dharmasiri Lankapeli, General Secretary, Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions (FMETU)
  23. Dharshana Kahingala
  24. Dr. Lionel Bopage
  25. Fr. Rohan Silva
  26. Fr. Sarath Iddamalgoda
  27. Inthumathy Hariharathamotharan
  28. J.A.Priyantha Fernando
  29. Jake Oorloff
  30. Joseph Stalin
  31. Lahiru Weerasekara
  32. Lakshman F. B. Gunasekara
  33. Lasantha Ruhunage
  34. Madhubhashini R. Rathnayaka, Communications Strategist & Filmmaker, Sri Lanka
  35. Maithreyi Rajasingam
  36. Marisa de Silva
  37. Monica Alfred
  38. N. Suranni Cooray
  39. Nagulan Nesiah
  40. Nicola Perera
  41. Nilshan Fonseka
  42. P. Muthulingam
  43. Paba Deshapriya – bakamoono.lk
  44. Pasan Jayasinghe
  45. Peter Rezel, Chartered Accountant
  46. Prabodha Rathnayaka AAL
  47.  Prabu Deepan
  48. Prema Gamage
  49. Priyadarshanie Ariyaratne, Chairperson, Green Hats Foundation
  50. Prof. Sitralega – Independent Feminist Researcher, Batticaloa
  51. R.R. Godawatta
  52. Ranjith de Silva
  53. Rekha Nilukshi, Journalist
  54. Rev. Dr. Jayasiri T. Peiris
  55. Rev. Fr. F.J. Gnanaraj Croos
  56. Rev. Fr. Jeyabalan Croos
  57. Rev. Fr. Maxwell Doss
  58.  Rev. Fr. Nandana Manatunga
  59. Rev. Sr. Noel Christine Fernando
  60. Rohini Hensman – Writer, Researcher and Activist
  61. Rosanna Flamer-Caldera
  62. Ruki Fernando
  63. Ruwan Laknath Jayakody – Writer
  64. S. Attanayake
  65. S. Jeyam
  66. S. Thavaseelan
  67. Sampath Samarakoon – Editor, VIKALPA.ORG
  68. Sandun Thudugala
  69. Sandya Salgado
  70. Sarah Arumugamm – Attorney-at-Law
  71. Sarath Karunadasa, National Organizer, National Trade Protection Council
  72. Saroj Pathirana – Journalist
  73.  Selvaraja Rajasegar – Editor of www.maatram.org
  74. Shreen Abul Saroor
  75. Sinthuka Vivekananthan- Human and Women Rights Activist
  76. Srinath Perera AAL, General Secretary, Free Trade Union Centre
  77. Suheera Safeek
  78. Sumathy Sivamohan
  79. Sumathy Sivamohan
  80. Sunanda Deshapriya
  81. Tharindu Uduwaragedara – Journalist
  82. Thushari Madahapola
  83. U.L.M. Najeeb – Chairman, Public Welfare Society, Kalkudhah, Batticaloa District
  84. Ven. Fr. Samuel J. Ponniah
  85. Vincent Bulathsinghala, AAL
  86. Visakha Tillekeratne – Independent Activist
  87. W.F. Priyankara Costa
  88. W.S. Rambukpotha
  89. Yoga Rajeskanna, SLATE Union, Sri Lanka Telecom

 

Organizations

  1. Alliance for Minorities
  2. Ampara District Alliance for Land Rights (ADALR)
  3. Centre for Society and Religion (CSR)
  4. Ceylon Teachers’ Union
  5. Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners (CPRP)
  6. Dabindu Collective
  7. Families of the Disappeared
  8. Future in Our Hands, Badulla
  9. Human Elevation Organization (HEO)
  10. Human Rights Citizen’s Committee, Ekala
  11. Human Rights Office (HRO)
  12. Institute for Social Development (ISD)
  13. Law and Society Trust
  14. Lawyers’ forum for the people
  15. Mannar Women’s Development Federation
  16. Media Law Forum (MLF)
  17. Movement for Land and Agriculture Reforms (MONLAR)
  18. Movement for Plantation Peoples’ Land Rights (MPPLR)
  19. Movement for the Defense of Democratic Rights
  20. National Fisheries Solidarity Movement
  21. National Peace Council (NPC)
  22. People’s Alliance for Right to Land (PARL)
  23. Praja Abhilasha Network
  24. Revolutionary Existent for Human Development (RED)
  25. Rule of Law Forum
  26. Sandeshaya by Saroj
  27. Satahan Media
  28. Savisthri National Women’s Movement.
  29. Shramabimani Kendraya
  30. Social Institute for Development of Plantation Sector (SIDPS)
  31. Solidarity Movement for North and East People’s Struggles
  32. Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association
  33. Stand Up Movement Lanka
  34. Upcountry Civil Society Collective (UCSC)
  35. Viluthu
  36. Women’s Resource Centre
  37. Women’s Action for Social Justice
  38. Women’s Action Network
  39. Young Lawyers Association
  40. YOUTH FOR CHEnge

08th February, 2023

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