CMEV’s Statement on Current Crisis Situation in Sri Lanka
CMEV expresses its deep concern about the rapid deterioration of democracy and the rule of law in the country. Following the devastating violence in many parts of the country on May 09, 2022, CMEV has reports that the police investigations and arrests of perpetrators are taking place under political influence. It has been reported to CMEV that some of the suspects were arrested without clear evidence of their connections to the violence. In one case, a 16 years old boy sitting for the O/L examination had been arrested and only granted bail on the afternoon of Monday, May 23, just for being in a photograph of a large crowd gathered in the Eravur area.
CMEV has also observed the reluctance of police to arrest people who initiated violence at the ‘Maina Go Gama’ and ‘Gota Go Gama’ on May 9, 2022, even though video and other evidence is available. It was reported to CMEV that the Attorney General’s Department had obtained an order suspending the foreign travel of Fr. Jeewantha Peiris and many others, who have lodged complainants and been eyewitnesses of the ‘Gota Go Gama’ attack. They all are active supporters of non-partisan peoples’ struggles.
CMEV urges all law implementing agencies to act independently and accountably to ensure law and order and the rule of law in society. CMEV was shocked to learn that 182 OICs out of 184 appointed during the period from 01.01.2011 to 03.11.2021 do not possess the required qualification for the post according to the letter dated 06.12.2021 by the Mr C.D. Wickramaratne, IGP. This is now available online. The political bias of OICs toward ruling party politicians in the area is well-known. CMEV urges the Police Commission and the Ministry of Public Security to rectify the situation immediately. CMEV also reiterates the need for disciplinary action against officers who have allegedly responded illegally against public protests, violating the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights to peaceful assembly and to the freedom of expression.
CMEV believes that the present political crisis will not be resolved unless the public gets an opportunity to elect a new government. The majority of the current members of parliament have lost the public’s trust. As the President has no constitutional power to dissolve parliament till February 20, 2023, CMEV urges MPs of all parties to respect the values of representative democracy by passing a motion to request the Executive President to dissolve the parliament and move to a general election at the earliest. This would enable constituents to elect representatives who have their trust and confidence, to handle the present crisis.
CMEV was formed in 1997 by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), the Free Media Movement (FMM) and the Coalition against Political Violence as an independent and nonpartisan organization to monitor the incidence of election-related violence. Currently, CMEV is made up of CPA, FMM and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre.
Dr. P. Saravanamuttu – Co – Convenor
Mr. Lasantha De Silva – Co-Convenor,
Mr. Udaya Kalupathirana – Co-Convenor