Asian Centre for Human Rights

Dedicated to promotion and protection of human rights in Asia

 
ACHR PRESS RELEASE
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ACHR Index: PR/SL/02/05
13 August 2005

Imposition of emergency in Sri Lanka wanton

New Delhi:  New Delhi based Asian Centre for Human Rights described the imposition of a State of Emergency in Sri Lanka today “to facilitate enhanced security measures and effective investigations” in the aftermath of the assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar yesterday as “one wanton act of terror to address “another wanton act of terror”.

"While the dastardly murder of Foreign Minister Kadirgamar must be condemned and the government of Sri Lanka must take all lawful measures to bring the culprits to justice, the same cannot be achieved by suspending fundamental freedoms under a State of emergency. The declaration of a state of national emergency does not make Sri Lankan government look more committed to nab the criminals but fraught with dangerous repercussions for civil liberties."– stated Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights

The government could have taken other lawful measures such as imposing curfew, sheilding Colombo or conducting lawful search to catch the culprits. But, the declaration of emergency which denies the freedom from arbitrary arrest, personal liberties, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of peaceful assembly etc for all the Sri Lankans is blatantly illegal and cannot substitute efficiency required from the State agencies to catch the culprits. Rather giving such widespread powers reduces the efficiency of the State agencies and alienates the people.

Asian Centre for Human Rights expresses concerns about the declaration of a state of emergency in Sri Lanka under slightest pretexts in clear violations of the obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Sri Lanka is a ratifying party. In December 2003, President Kumaratunga declared public emergency to dislodge Ranil Wickremasinghe government although there was no threat to the nation.

ACHR urged the Sri Lankan government to immediately inform other State parties to the ICCPR of any derogation from the provisions of the ICCPR under the present emergency declaration through Secretary General Kofi Annan as required under Article 4(3) of the ICCPR.

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