Foreign Envoys voice concerns over Emergency

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Several foreign missions in Colombo, including the US, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the European Union have expressed concern about President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to declare a State of Emergency in the country beginning 7 May.

US Ambassador Julie Chung, in a Twitter message said, “Concerned by another State of Emergency. The voices of Peaceful citizens need to be heard. And the very real challenges Sri Lankans are facing require long term solutions to set the country back on a path toward prosperity and opportunity for all. The State of Emergency won’t help do that.”

UK High Commissioner Sarah Hulton, in a Twitter message, stated, “A democratic and peaceful approach is essential to resolving the current challenges. Rights to peaceful protest and freedom of expression must be respected alongside all fundamental rights. Emergency laws restricting those rights work against democratic dialogue and solutions.”

New Zealand High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Michael Appleton also expressed concerns about the state of emergency, without a ‘clear rationale’ provided.

“Sri Lankans, whose recent protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful, deserve to have their voices heard. We encourage all to focus on solving Sri Lanka’s political and economic challenges.” he tweeted.

Canadian High Commissioner David Mckinnon, also expressing concern, tweeted, “Over the past weeks, the demonstrations across Sri Lanka have overwhelmingly involved citizens enjoying their right to peaceful freedom of expression, and are a credit to the country’s democracy. It’s hard to understand why it is necessary, then, to declare a state of emergency.”

The European Union (EU) delegation in Sri Lanka said that the State of Emergency will certainly not help in solving the country’s difficulties and could have a counterproductive effect.

“A month of peaceful demonstrations has shown how Sri Lankan citizens fully enjoy their right to freedom of expression in the oldest democracy in South Asia,” the EU tweeted.