HRCSL urges Govt to ensure safe return of Gotabaya, family

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The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) called on the Government of Sri Lanka to take adequate measures to ensure the safe return of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his family.

HRCSL noted that several complaints have been received by the Commission alleging that former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had tendered his resignation under threat and coercion and that the Government had failed to provide adequate security to Rajapaksa.

In a letter to President Ranil Wickremesinghe, HRCSL Chairperson, Retired Supreme Court Justice Rohini Marasinghe observed that the complaints are based on the premise that Rajapaksa and his family are unable to return to the country due to the threats they face and that such act violates fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

“The HRCSL has gone through the complaints, it grossly violates the fundamental rights guaranteed to every citizen if that citizen cannot return to the country for extraneous reasons beyond his control and which are within the control of the State to eliminate,” Justice Marasinghe said.

She added it unequivocally violates fundamental rights if all persons are not guaranteed equal protection under the law.

“The complainants further alleged that the Ex-President could not return to the country unless the Government guaranteed the security he is entitled to under the law as Ex-President of Sri Lanka,” she said. 

The Commission observed that Rajapaksa is entitled to certain privileges and benefits as an Ex-President established under law.

She thereby recommended that the Government take all necessary steps to assess the threat and provide Rajapaksa with the protection provided under the law for an Ex-President to return to the country whenever he makes such a request.

“The family of Rajapaksa now living abroad, is entitled to the protection of the law to a safe return to the country. The HRCSL recommends that the GOSL provide adequate protection to the family of Rajapaksa to return to the country,” she added.