The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) called for an inquiry into the attack on protesters at Galle Face in the vicinity of the Presidential Secretariat by the armed forces on early hours of Friday (22).
“It is apparent that hundreds of military personnel and Police had blocked the access roads to Galle Face and prevented the public from entering the area. Lawyers who tried to enter the area have been prevented from doing so by forces personnel. The BASL has been informed that at least two Lawyers who sought to intervene in their professional capacity had been assaulted by service personnel. Video footage also shows unarmed civilians being assaulted by the security forces,” BASL noted.
BASL demanded for an immediate halt to the unjustified and disproportionate actions of the Armed Forces targeting civilians and called on President Ranil Wickremesinghe to ensure that he and his Government respect the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights of the people.
“The use of the Armed Forces to suppress civilian protests on the very first day in office of the new President is despicable and will have serious consequences on our country’s social, economic and political stability,” BASL said adding an immediate inquiry should be carried out into the incidents and disciplinary actions should be taken against all persons involved. “All those involved including those who gave orders on the same must be held accountable,” BASL noted.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) said the inappropriate declaration of emergency is contrary to the rule of law and attempting to control/suppress the fundamental rights of the people by the continuous declaration of emergency violates the Constitution. HRCSL therefore called for the withdrawal of the declaration of emergency immediately.
(Pix by Venura Chandramalitha)