Sri Lanka has just been plunged yet deeper into a crisis of democracy, after President Sirisena announced late yesterday evening that he was dissolving the country’s Parliament. You can read our blog piece about what’s just happened, and what it means, here.
It is the latest in a string of illegal and unconstitutional moves by the President, which began a fortnight ago with the attempt to dismiss serving Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinge and replace him with Mahinda Rajapaksa, an alleged war criminal responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of his own citizens.
The dissolution of Parliament is a sign that that initial plan – which we and many others have described as an attempted coup – is failing. Despite the use of threats and bribes, Mahinda Rajapaksa has not succeeded in gaining the necessary support from members of Parliament that would have given his power grab a veneer of legitimacy. Yet rather than allowing the matter to be resolved through Parliament, which was due to meet next week, the President has chosen to suspend the democratic process and double down his assault on due process and the rule of law.
With the political situation heating up, there is now a very real risk of violence. We remain deeply concerned about the possibility of a wider crackdown against civil society, particularly in the heavily militarised North and East of the country.
We’re working flat out to ensure that members of the international community are responding to the crisis with the seriousness that it deserves. In the meantime, you can read our latest analysis of events here. Why not lend us a hand by Tweeting it to your elected representatives – in the UK, the USA, Canada, or elsewhere – and asking them what they’re doing to raise the alarm on events in Sri Lanka?
The Sri Lanka Campaign Team
p.s. notice how recent attempts to subvert Sri Lanka’s constitution have mostly taken place late on a Friday evening? Perhaps those responsible think concerned individuals and human rights organisations don’t work weekends. But they’re wrong. We do. If you’d like to recognise our efforts and help cover our costs, please consider making a donation.