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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Open Letter to all Political Parties – Key Pledges to Be Included in Manifestos

We the undersigned Sri Lankan civil society activists and organizations, wish to bring to your attention human rights issues of pivotal importance to reconciliation, unity, peace and prosperity in our country, which we strongly believe should be included in your party manifestos for the forthcoming General Election.

During the campaign period leading to the January 2015 Presidential Election, the focus was governance and anti- corruption as the immediate need of the day to salvage democracy and restore the rule of law in Sri Lanka. There appeared to be a consensus that once this was done and an enabling environment thereby created, the longer term issues of peace and reconciliation, the process of transitional justice, an end to the culture of impunity in respect of all human rights violations and a political settlement of the ethnic conflict, would be addressed in earnest.

We are of the firm belief that the Parliament to be elected on the 17 of August will have to address these issues as a matter of the utmost priority if we as Sri Lankans are to realize the full potential for peace and prosperity in a truly united country that is inherent in all our fellow citizens. We have languished for too long in a post- war situation, in which the roots of conflict are sustained and even allowed to be reproduced. We need to move to a post-conflict situation characterized by the absence of human rights violations and in order to do so, we strongly urge that the following, in particular, be included as firm pledges in your manifestos.

1 . Commit to a political and constitutional settlement of the ethnic conflict based on meaningful power-sharing.

2. Ensure families have access to the truth, and hold accountable all those responsible for enforced and involuntary disappearances, and that the crime of disappearances be criminalized under Sri Lankan Law.

 3. Repeal or reform the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), bringing it in line with Sri Lanka’s international obligations, and that all long-term detainees be charged or released with immediate effect.

 4. Zero tolerance on the issues of enforced and involuntary disappearance, torture, religious and gender based violence and attacks, suppression of dissent and threats on Human Rights Defenders (HRDs).

5.Bring an end to the prevailing culture of impunity, and strengthen the judiciary to uphold the law and hold accountable all those responsible for human rights violations.

 6. Put in place processes and mechanisms of transitional justice in conformity with international standards, and continued, constructive engagement with victims, affected communities, local civil society groups and the international community.

7. Ensure an enabling environment for civil society activism.

 8. Implement pro-people, participatory and sustainable economic, development and environmental policies, approaches and practices.

 Let us NOT miss this historic opportunity for true reform and reconciliation!



  1. Alphonse Mary – Batticaloa
  2. Ameer M. Faaiz – Attorney-at-law
  3. Anandi Sivasubramanium
  4. Anberiya Hanifa
  5. Anushaya Collure
  6. Aruni Jayakody – Attorney-at-law
  7. Gowthaman – Attorney-at-law
  8. Balasingham Skanthakumar
  9. Bhavani Fonseka – Attorney-at-law
  10. Brito Fernando
  11. Ranitha Gnanarajah – Attorney-at-law
  12. Cayathri D
  13. Chandra Jayaratne
  14. Chandraguptha Thenuwara – Artist/Senior Lecturer
  15. Deanne Uyangoda
  16. A. Selvendiran – Advisor, NGO Consortium, Batticaloa
  17. J. T. Xavier F.R.C.S. (Retd.) – Batticaloa
  18. Jehan Perera
  19. Malathi de Alwis
  20. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
  21. Sepali Kottegoda
  22. Faizun Zackariya
  23. Farzana Haniffa
  24. Gajen Mahendra
  25. Gehan Gunatilleke – Attorney-at-law
  26. Godfrey Yogarajah
  27. Herman Kumara
  28. Hilmy Ahamed
  29. Jacqueline
  30. Jansila Majeed
  31. Jayanta de S. Wijeratne
  32. Jeanne Samuel
  33. Joe William
  34. Aingkaran
  35. S. Ratnavale – Attorney-at-law
  36. Kalani Subasinghe
  37. Kumudini Samuel
  38. Kusal Perera – Journalist
  39. Luwie Ganeshathasan – Attorney-at-law
  40. A.L. Perera
  41. S. Nilashani
  42. Mala Liyanage
  43. Mangaleswary Shanker
  44. Manori Kalugampitiya
  45. Mario Gomez
  46. Marisa de Silva
  47. Menaha Kandasamy
  48. Minoli de Soysa
  49. Mirak Raheem
  50. Mohammed Mahuruf
  51. Nalini Ratnarajah
  52. Nilshan Fonseka
  53. Nimalka Fernando – Attorney-at-law
  54. Niran Anketell – Attorney-at-law
  55. Padmini Weerasooriya
  56. Prabodha Rathnayaka – Attorney-at-law
  57. Priya Thangarajah
  58. Priyanthi Fernando
  59. Camena Guneratne – Open University of Sri Lanka
  60. Jayantha Seneviratne – University of Kelaniya
  61. M.S. Mookiah
  62. M.B Senanayake – Retd. CCS
  63. Rajaledsumi – Women’s Rights Activist
  64. Fr. Anthony Fernando – Salesian of Don Bosco
  65. Fr. Dixon Fernando SDB – Rector, Don Bosco – Dungalpitiya
  66. Fr. Guy Fonghaland
  67. Fr. Jeyabalan Croos
  68. Fr. Jeyaraj Rasiah SJ
  69. Fr. Joseph Mary SJ – Batticaloa
  70. Fr. Nihal Liyanage
  71. Fr. Rohan Dominic
  72. Fr. V. Yogeswaran – Attorney-at-law
  73. Sr. Deepa Fernando HF
  74. Sr. Nichola Emmanuel SCJM
  75. Sr. Victorine James – Holy Cross Provincialate, Kochchikade
  76. Rohini Dep Weerasinghe
  77. Rosanna Flamer-Caldera
  78. Ruki Fernando
  79. Sabra Zahid – Attorney-at-law
  80. Sandhya Eknaligoda
  81. Saroja Sivachandran
  82. Sathiya Sarasakopal
  83. Shashika L. Bandara
  84. Sheila Richards
  85. Shreen Saroor
  86. Shyamala Gomez
  87. Solomon Anthony Nirmalan – Claretian Congregation
  88. Sudarshana Gunawardana – Attorney-at-law
  89. Sunanda Deshapriya
  90. Sunela Jayewardene
  91. Suriya Wickremasinghe
  92. Mathuri – Attorney-at-law
  93. Udaya Kalupathirana
  94. Visaka Dharmadasa




  1. Alliance Development Trust
  2. Association of War Affected Women
  3. Center for Promotion & Protection of Human Rights (CPPHR)
  4. Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD)
  5. Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA)
  6. Ceylon Workers Red Flag Union
  7. Citizens’ Voice for Justice and Peace
  8. Domestic Workers Union (DWU)
  9. Equal Ground Sri Lanka
  10. Federation of Media Employee’s Trade Unions
  11. Gandhi Sewa Society – Batticaloa
  12. Inform Human Rights Documentation Centre
  13. International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES)
  14. Kantha Shakthi Forum
  15. Mothers and Daughters of Lanka
  16. Muslim Council of Sri Lanka
  17. National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO)
  18. National Peace Council (NPC)
  19. Red Flag Women’s Movement
  20. Right to Life Human Rights Centre (R2L)
  21. Rights Now Collective for Democracy
  22. Secretariat for Muslims (SFM)
  23. Sisters of the Holy Cross
  24. South Asian Centre for Legal Studies
  25. Vikalpani National Women’s Network
  26. Women’s Centre – Ja-Ela
  27. Women’s Development Centre – Jaffna
  28. Women’s Political Academy
  29. Young Asia Television (YATV)                                                                                                                                                13th July, 2015


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