Petition to Promote Access to Vote for Sri Lankan’s Abroad

Recently, Milinda Moragoda, Minister of Justice and Law Reform, and the leader of the Sri Lanka National Congress (SLNC), a constituent party of the United People’s Freedom Alliance launched a website to to ‘Promote Access to Voting for Sri Lankan’s Abroad.’

While launching website Minister Milinda Moragoda said the Vote” is a universal human right. In a democracy there is nothing more fundamental than having the right to vote.

However, millions of individuals in our country are unable to exercise this right simply because they are not physically present in Sri Lanka at the time of election(s).

Among the disenfranchised Sri Lankan citizens abroad are (i) those that have migrated primarily for employment (ii) Migrants holding permanent residence or citizenship status of the host country. It is estimated that there are nearly 1.7 million who belong to the former category alone who has contributed immensely to our economy during the past few years.

Notwithstanding the large magnitude of Sri Lankan citizens abroad the current election laws do not have access and procedures in place for Sri Lankans living or working overseas to vote.

Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the right to vote as a basic human right. Furthermore, Article 41 of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers which Sri Lanka has ratified states as following:

(I) “ Migrant workers and members of their families shall have the right to participate in public

affairs of their State of origin and to vote and be elected at the elections of that State in accordance with its legislation

(II) “The States concerned shall, as appropriate and in accordance with their legislation, facilitate the exercise of these rights.”

The website will cater as a key mechanism for collecting signatures from Sri Lankan’s living here and abroad supporting this campaign on Access to Vote.

Source: Asian Tribune