5 March, 2024


An Overview Of The State Of Human Rights In Sri Lanka In 2012

By Asian Human Rights Commission

Mahinda Rajapaksa

In previous annual reports, the Asian Human Rights Commission has documented Sri Lanka’s rapid fall into a dictatorship under the executive presidential system. This process has now been completed. There are violations written into the basic structure of its constitution, which was initially based on Sri Lanka being a republic and a democracy, recognizing the separation of powers between the executive, a legislature and judiciary, with the rule of law as its foundation and made on the basis of sovereignty of the people; now the legislature and the judiciary have been subjugated to the executive, through the 1972 and 1978 Constitutions. The executive president has now taken control of the legislature and the judiciary, and thereby reduced these two formerly independent branches of government into branches of the executive. This transformation is so complete that the principles of separation of powers and the rule of law can no longer be operated in any rational manner. The executive president is the sole and the direct controller of every aspect of governance, and all institutions are now expected to operate under his direction and according to his wishes.

The direct result of this transformation is that now no justice is possible in Sri Lanka. Under the structure of governance, functioning under the direction of the executive president, there is no protection for the dignity and liberty of individuals. Individual freedoms are completely suppressed and there is no institutional structure for the protection of such liberties.

Citizenship in Sri Lanka now only refers to one without any of the human rights. Individuals are being made into digits of a system in which the controller is the executive president. No one is outside the arbitrary control of the executive president, including the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka herself. All judges in the time to come will be under the total control of the executive president. The only permissible decisions that the judges of Sri Lanka will be able to make will be those that the executive president allows them to make. Anyone who even slightly deviates from this path is likely to be removed from his or her position immediately, the same way that chief justice is being dealt with now. Under these circumstances, fundamental human rights, though enshrined in the constitution, are without any effective protection. The protections that arise from Sri Lanka being signatory to international conventions in human rights have now lost significance.

The people of Sri Lanka have been watching these transformations helplessly. The international community is totally oblivious to these transformations. For many decades, the UN Agencies, the powerful countries, and the international community at large, thought the sole problem in Sri Lanka was the ethnic conflict, or the minority issue, and failed to recognize the terrible constitutional crisis that the political system as a whole was facing since 1978. There were those who pointed out this situation in a fuller picture, and this included the Asian Human Rights Commission. However, such warnings were not taken seriously. Now, when the collapse is becoming obvious, there are some expressions of concern, but these have come too late, and even now the recognition of the total transformation of Sri Lanka into a dictatorship is not being grasped at all. The consequence is that the people of Sri Lanka now have to face this situation alone and even someone in as high a position as the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka has no choice but to face the consequences of the total absence of respect for rules. It will be said in the future that at the point when Sri Lankan democracy sank like the Titanic no one came to her rescue.

The most frightening spectacle is the rise of the Ministry of Defence as the total controller of the lives of Sri Lankan citizens. The para-military forces, such as the Special Task Force (STF), the intelligence services, and the military are now intervening into the lives of people in the North and East as well as the people of the South. Not even the prisoners are outside their control and direct intervention. All these forces work outside the law and enjoy total impunity.

The possibility of any credible investigation into violations of rights has come to an end. In the absence of such investigations, the possibility of prosecutions does not exist and, in any case, the prosecutor – that is, the Attorney General’s Department – is under the control of the new administration of the executive president. The judiciary has ceased to be a separate branch of governance and is now under the control of the executive president. When even the Chief Justice is without legal protection, there is hardly any need to speculate on the fate of ordinary folk.

Forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, rampant torture, denial of protection from illegal arrest and illegal detention, the denial of fair trial, the suppression of freedom of expression, publication, and association, are all entrenched, and electing a government by a free and fair election is no longer a possibility. In short, all the rights enshrined under the UN International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) are being violated and there is no effective remedy, as required under Article 2 of that Covenant, for any of the rights.

The final culminating issue is the government initiative to impeach the chief justice. This was a direct retaliation to judgments relating to the Divinaguma Bill, which the three judges of a bench presided over by the Chief Justice had held to be in contravention of the constitution. After threats of impeachment, 117 members filed an impeachment motion containing 14 charges, all of which the Chief Justice denied. Later, 11 members, of whom 7 are from the government, have been appointed to be the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC).

The impeachment procedure is contained in article 107 and select committee resolutions are found in article 78. Many authorities have pointed out that this procedure does not provide for impartial investigation of a tribunal, and therefore violates the basic principles relating to an impeachment of a judge.

Despite such challenges, the impeachment proceedings are continuing. The government approach appears to be that legality or illegality of the impeachment is irrelevant. The executive can request the parliament to commit an act which may be illegal, and on that request, parliament must oblige. The core argument is that whatever the executive orders has effect of law. This is the same position that Otto Adolf Eichmann took about the orders of Hitler.

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Latest comments

  • 0

    SOME “people of Sri Lanka have been watching these transformations helplessly”…but the vast majority either don’t know what is happening, or don’t care or are too busy making ends meet to even dream of mounting any kind of protest. Most Sri Lankan’s are like the woman who gets beaten up everyday by her drunken husband. On the days that he does not beat her but just verbally abuses her she feels so happy and is grateful to him. Similarly, while the LTTE were around, people were scared of exploding bombs. Since the bombs are silent now, everything else the Rajapaksa regime does pales into insignificance. Our peoples thinking is that it’s better to be hit in the stomach, rather than get hit on the head. :-D
    Sri Lankan majority logic and Medamulana logic is what is in vogue at the moment. But nothing is permanent.

    • 0

      Exactly, this rapidly widening gulf between the western province, Colombo specifically, and the rest of the country, will be used by this regime to do whatever they want. Keep them(rural folk) at just the right level of poverty, throw them the occasional bone in the form of favors by politicians and all manner of misdeeds get swept under the carpet in the name of ‘Mandate’.
      The people have to want the change. Currently they are happy to have the “Janadiathi thuma’ give them a “sadarana visdumak” for all their ills.

  • 0

    Sri Lanka has indirectly become a state under the Chinese rule. China has been expanding its wings into various regions in the world. The most significant move and success they have had is their influence in Sri Lanka. China has always been in loggerheads with India, China’s focus in Sri Lanka is a major achievement. Whether we are ready to accept or not, in broader terms, if we look at the manner in which Sri Lankan Government under Rajapakse has taken various steps to crush independence clearly shows that they are getting their advice and guidance from China. As China is a dictatorship of a few, ruling with the aid of the military, Sri Lanka too is following the same footsteps. Further, if we carefully evaluate the recent incidents we may begin to wonder the best opposition in Sri Lanka was LTTE. Now do not label me as an LTTE supporter, but we all can agree that as long as LTTE was there, the Sinhala population was protected by the Govt and we had a higher degree of democracy. But since the demise of LTTE, the Govt has turned against the Sinhala masses. Its now no more a battle between Tamils and Sinhalese, its a battle between Sinhalese and Sinhalese, its a home and home fight. Sri Lanka has more literate people than Egypt and other Arab Spring countries, still with all the damage done to democracy, Sri Lankans are still quite. Where are we heading. This may be the reason why in the recent past more Sinhalese than Tamils are leaving the country to settle down overseas. It is possible the present impeachment has also been planned in a manner that we will end up with a military government!

    • 0

      To be more precise…what we now have is a family dictatorship backed by the military.In China the communist party governs the country with the backing of the military as well. Everybody knows that China is not a democracy…but in Sri Lanka we still go through the motions of having elections which are ultimately rigged by computers. In my opinion, present day Sri Lanka resembles George Orwells “1984” more than China does.

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  • 0

    Present impeachment is no doubt a harbinger of more to come. 2013 is going to be a crunch year when we begin to repay our debts. Govt will probably increase prices and taxes and deal with any protests or unrest. Thats when the judiciary will have a role to play in protecting the citizens.

    “The tax rises are aimed at boosting revenue by about 20 percent, compared to last year, and reducing the budget deficit to 5.8 percent of gross domestic product in 2013 as per the IMF’s directives. Total revenue will be 1,257 billion rupees ($US9.6 billion) with an estimated expenditure of 1,785 billion rupees.

    However, in order to fund existing loan repayments, the government needs new loans of 1,303 billion rupees, or nearly $10 billion, in 2013. This is creating a vicious cycle, with public debt increasing by 24 percent to 6,161 billion rupees by the end of July 2012, compared to the same period last year. Sri Lanka is heavily dependent on loans from China, in particular.”

    In other words loan repayment US 10 Bn, Revenue US 9.6 Bn.

  • 0

    Here below is what the nation has still been waiting to realize.. Country´s head himself approve murderers to be free – just because him being his close confidiates.

    Kolonnawa could turn into a battlefield-Hirunika
    MONDAY, 10 DECEMBER 2012 10:45
    The entire Kolonnawara area would be turned into a battlefield unless MP Duminda Silva is arrested at the airport upon arrival his in the country, said Hirunika Premachandra, daughter of the late Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, yesterday.

    Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra was killed in a shooting incident in October last year. Mr. Silva is an accused in the case. At present he is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Singapore.

    Miss Premachandra said that Mr. Silva should be arrested at the airport if he arrives. Otherwise, she said, it would set off yet another war in Kolonnawa.
    Referring to a recent Bodhi Pooja conducted to invoke blessings on MP Duminda Silva, she said that it was possibly the first instance of an accused in a criminal case being blessed(Indika Hewavitarana)

    • 0

      Drug dealers and drug addicts are very hard to reform or cure. It is a known fact all over the world.

      Similarly Duminda is a God. to the Kolonnawa drug dealers, drug addicts and drug mafia..big barrons…which are sponsored by the VVIP’s. It’s a billion rupee business.

      Hirunika will find it hard to face them because all the big drug kin pin mafiosas are involved and there’s not going to be a single winner as they kill each other for markets.

      Kolonnawa, is a worst area one can think of living specially with these kind of addicts and violance.

      If I were Hirunika I will stay away from them….because even without her….they are still going to kill each other anyway….for drug markets.

      She has her talent to sing and a student lawyer and has her beauty also. So why sacrifice her life to these unappreciated, third grade, rowdy gang of criminal thugs.

      She should stay away from them and move somewhere safe.

  • 0

    I give below a picture of how the Parliament is comprised and the rest of the Govt. VIP’s and Senior Executives:

    1) Sri Lanka Parliament consist with 225 members which is the most highest in the world representing mere 20 million people.

    2)Over 100 parliament members are cross overs from other parties….bribrd with unlimited amount of money paid by the President.
    Most of them are jiust idling and many have not spoken a word for two years.(As per MP Tiran Alles)

    Highest payroll, perks and benefits including additional security,luxury vehicles, house allowance and free electricity, telephone, water,Health, full pension after 5 years, childrens education etc. all met by people’s money.Also duty free vehicle permits valued upto 20 million rupees given to all members as an when President decides.

    3)Speaker of the parliament-Chamal Rajapakse- President’s Brother – Ex Police officer turned into Security Officer after retirement (Academic Qualifications unknown)

    4)Minister of Housing -Govt. PSC member – Wimal Weerawanse ( Grade eight school drop out another cross over from JVP)

    5)Minister of environment- Govt. PSC HEAD- Anura Priyadarshana Yapa ( Low end Lawyer hearing cases on moonshine-illicit Arrack/ drug peddling etc.)

    6) Minister of Social Affairs – Mervin Silva( No academic Qualifications…doesen’t show even studied upto grade five, except paid to somebody and wearing a fake Dr.rate – another crossover from UNP)

    7) 80% of the parliament members do not have a basic Degree

    8)60% are low end traders, Bar and Tavern owners, race bookie owners.

    9)Minister of defense – Gotabaya Rajapakse- Presidents brother- Grade 10 ex serviceman employed in USA as office assistant.

    10)Minister of economic Affairs-Gotabaya Rajapakse- Education unknown…worked in USA as petrol pump attendent.

    11) MP Namal Rajappakse – President’s son.- Only Sri Lankan to score 98 marks ever in the history of Sri Lanka, answering the Law paper in a seperate Air conditioned room with a computer beside.

    12) Chairman Sri lankan Airline – Nishantha Wickremasinghe – President’s brother-in-law – former planter.

    13)Former Tea salesman of president relative now serving as Ambassador in a western nation.

    14) Central Bank Govenor – Ajith Nivard Cabraal – Former Chartered Accountant.

    Many to follow…. Also please contribute and add if you have any information.

  • 0

    Pissu (Mad) MARA thought the way he kicked out Mr.Pradeep Kariyawasam, he could easily kick the Madam CJ also.

    But sorry to say MARA with his uneducated, uncultured and gon(Mad) harak (cow) mind jumped into the Goo(shit) bokkuwa(hole) thinking it’s a peni(honey) bokkuwa(hole).

    Poor Ass H..le now looking for his only hope Kudu and Badu kelani pachha Mervin Silva to win the case by threat and violance….which will never work and will ground him more into the goo(shit) bokkuwa(hole).

    Now MARA woke up the sleeping snake (lady) who will take every revenge from MARA, what he did to her family….with everything revealing all his sordid dealings he did.

    So better get ready Mr.President.

    • 0

      Note: This K.P. is not the same person as the K.P. who was the subecjt of my blog entry posted on June 29.The K.P. commenting here raises troubling and pertinent points. The exact numbers of civilians killed in the final months and weeks of fighting may never be known, because, more often that not, sources on both sides of the conflict are unreliable and biased. Therefore, civilian casualty numbers attributed to such sources probably are skewed, grist for their respective propaganda mills. We may never know the actual numbers, but I have no doubt that Tamil civilians were killed or cut down in the crossfire. From reliable news sources, such as the Times of London investigation cited above, we can construct a picture that they appeared to be caught between Sri Lankan governmental forces and Tamil Tigers, who had insinuated themselves into the refugee population.

    • 0

      The Sri Lankan Government cleverly reezilas that it has got away with the massacre of civilians and now feels free to do as it pleases. Reports are out that 1400 people are dying every week in the camps, that foreign nationals have been abducted (and UN workers too), that girls have been coerced into working in government run sex rings, that youths have been abducted, tortured and killed from the camps, yet there has been barely a murmur from the West. The green light is now on for (President) Mahinda Rajapakse to do as he pleases while we all look on helplessly. Perhaps Western court systems are the only place where he might be challenged.

  • 0

    Oh boy, This is a darn serious Report.

    All inhabitants have become just digits, not even Robots.

    Full on Forced disappearances, Extra judicial Killings. and Torture.

    No freedoms or rights what so ever.

    How long have these Asian Human Rights Watchers been domiciled in Srilanka.If not how long they have spent in total since the end of May 2009 to date?

    • 0

      None so blind as YOU who will not see. Or maybe there’s some other vested interest that keeps you kissing ass!!

    • 0

      This is an imposter

  • 0

    Most of the people in Sri Lanka including gov. media referred president as a King. Its indeed. Why?… In olden empires king used to control treasury and jurisdiction and kept family members as head of each department. Also offered gold and valuables which weight equal to elephant to the actress, jokers who made him happy!.Also had great royal prostitutes (Anthakpura). Why U people refer president as king? Its insult to great president.

    • 0


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