Sri Lanka should reject Minister Wijeyadasa’s statement: HRW
The Sri Lankan government should immediately reject statements made by Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe allegedly threatening to disbar a prominent lawyer for speaking out against attacks on religious minorities, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said today.
Issuing a statement, the HRW said the incident highlights the government’s failure to fully investigate and prosecute recent attacks on Muslims and Christians in the Buddhist-majority country.
“On June 17, 2017, Minister Rajapakshe threatened to “take necessary steps to remove Mr. Lakshan Dias from the legal profession” unless Dias apologized for remarks on a television program three days earlier about attacks on the Christian community. Dias had cited a report by church groups that there were nearly 200 attacks and other harassment against Christians and their places of worship since 2015. The government of President Maithripala Sirisena, which took office in January 2015, has failed to meet its pledge to protect the rights of religious minorities,” it said.
It further said the government needs to put a quick end to Justice Minister Rajapakshe’s attempts to bully Lakshan Dias, a leading human rights lawyer who stands up for Sri Lankans at greatest risk
Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch said by threatening Dias’s license, the government is threatening all marginalized groups that depend on him and other rights defenders for protection.
He said Sri Lanka has witnessed a spate of attacks against Muslims and Christians in recent years, with the government doing little to stop the violence. On May 18, in Devinuwara in Matara district, for example, some 2,000 people, including about 30 Buddhist monks, protested against a Christian place of worship, according to the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka.
In June 2014, Buddhist militants attacked the Muslim community in Aluthgama, leaving four dead and nearly 80 injured, and many homes and businesses destroyed. The authorities have yet to arrest those responsible, although the leaders behind the attack are well known to the authorities.
The statement said the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka on May 31 expressed concern over “acts of violence and aggression” against Muslims, and urged law enforcement agencies to “take all necessary action” against the instigators and perpetrators of violence against religious minorities.
The Sri Lankan constitution grants everyone the right to freedom of religion or belief in worship, observance, practice, or teaching. The right is also protected in international human rights treaties to which Sri Lanka is a party, notably the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Human Rights Watch said.
“Lawyers like Dias are protected by the right to freedom of expression. According to the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, lawyers “have the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice, and the promotion and protection of human rights without suffering professional restrictions by reason of their lawful action
Government inaction in the face of the justice minister’s threat to revoke the license of a prominent rights lawyer for speaking out on behalf of an embattled community will have reverberations beyond Sri Lanka,” Adams said. “Sri Lanka’s friends should be clear they are watching the government’s response closely,” it said.
- Food insecurity improved in Sri Lanka but prevails within specific regions – FAO and WFP May 29, 2023
- ADB approves $350 Million for Sri Lanka economic stabilization programme May 29, 2023
- Ven. Rajangane Saddharathana Thera arrested May 29, 2023
- Nathasha Edirisooriya remanded till June 7 May 28, 2023
- Fuel quota to be increased from Tuesday May 28, 2023
- India did more for Sri Lanka than IMF – Jaishankar May 28, 2023
- Sri Lanka to Issue digital birth certificates May 28, 2023
In an earlier blog, I called the Yahapalana leaders as a set of comedians.
Now I wish to add that there are a few monkeys and rabid mongrels amongst the comedians.
Gosh, how lunatic you idiots are ,why cant you ask the person who spread a blunt lie through a television interview to apologize.Is this the way you are going to operate across the world on behalf of yankees ?
Wijedasa Rajapaksas credibility is at stake. The government ought adopt a hard;ie against intrusion of foreigners into sri lankan affaitrs. As it is the us and her allies has created a crisis situation in the middle east with millions of refugees fleeing east and west and in the very near future we can ISIS to promote communal violence in Sri Lanka ….what then
The YP Government of Sri Lanka has accepted the participation of foreign judges and prosecutors in the war crime trials in the resolutions that were co-sponsored by GOSL in 2015 and 2017 at the UNHRC sessions.
That commitment is very clear in the text of the resolutions. If the YP clowns are having second thoughts on that commitment, we, as a nation, will be driven towards being a pariah state.
We had this experience under the previous regime and now, history is about to repeat itself.
So, it best for the YP clowns to bite the bullet and proceed with the war crime trials with participation of foreign judges and prosecutors.
In such an instance, the alleged war criminals cannot enjoy political impunity as they do in the case of a raft of corruption allegations.,