The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has called for an independent investigation into the Rambukkana incident, where Police opened fire on protesters, killing one and injuring a dozen others, while emphasising the importance of holding perpetrators accountable.
The CPA urged law enforcement officers and others not to resort to violence and said a swift and transparent accountability process is critical in preventing situations from spiralling out of control. They also reiterated that any law enforcement response must be proportionate, while condemning the use of disproportionate force when dealing with protesters.
“Sri Lanka has a long history of resorting to violence when dealing with its citizens and it is tragic that yet another life has been lost through such abusive practice. It is essential that the fundamental rights of citizens are respected and any abuse of power and use of force under the guise of maintaining peace not be tolerated. This incident took place in the backdrop of several weeks of peaceful protests across the country, as people face extraordinary economic hardship,” CPA noted.
While expressing solidarity with those engaged in peaceful methods of protest, the CPA noted that the current economic hardship is a direct result of mismanagement by authorities who have yet to constructively engage with the demands of the protesters and provide solutions to the multiple challenges faced by the people.
“The CPA hopes that this protest movement will lead to initiating essential structural and legislative reforms, addressing entrenched corruption and authoritarian governance, focusing on structural inequalities and assisting the most vulnerable in our society, addressing the root causes of conflict and genuine reckoning for Sri Lanka’s cycles of violence. Ignoring the demands of the protesters, which have so far only been met with token efforts at reform and empty promises, will further isolate the Government, exacerbate the political and economic crisis and lead to further instability, create new triggers for violence and impede genuine transformation in Sri Lanka”.