The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has condemned the illegal evictions carried out by the UDA in Colombo. Issuing a statement the the Standing Committee on Rule of Law of the Bar Association says that the Urban Development Authority which comes under the Ministry of Defence has been carrying out illegal evictions of families living at Wanathamulla, Borella without resort to the law on acquisition of private property. What is of deep concern is the use of army personal to threaten and intimidate residents to vacate their premises.
“This is in blatant violation of the law and in violation of the fundamental rights of the residents. The UDA is bound to follow the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act in acquiring land for specific public purposes.” the statement said.
The Bar Associations further notes that this is not an isolated incident and is seen as another incident of the use of the armed forces to violate the law and act arbitrarily. This is seen as a continuation of the militarization of civil society that we see around us.
“We call upon the government to immediately stop this illegal and unconstitutional process and to act according to the law of the country in acquiring private property.”
The military has been extensively used to “clean” the slums and the poor illegal dwellers in Colombo as part of Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Colombo City beatification project.