10 August, 2022


Civil Society Wants Eight Key Pledges To Be Included In Party Manifestos

Sending an open letter to all political parties, 94 Civil Society activists and 29 organisations have today urged that 8 key pledges to be included as firm pledges in party manifestos.

Ranil after elections 2015We publish below the letter in full;

We the undersigned Sri Lankan civil society activists and organizations, wish to bring to your attention human rights issues of pivotal importance to reconciliation, unity, peace and prosperity in our country, which we strongly believe should be included in your party manifestos for the forthcoming General Election.

During the campaign period leading to the January 2015 Presidential Election, the focus was governance and anti- corruption as the immediate need of the day to salvage democracy and restore the rule of law in Sri Lanka. There appeared to be a consensus that once this was done and an enabling environment thereby created, the longer term issues of peace and reconciliation, the process of transitional justice, an end to the culture of impunity in respect of all human rights violations and a political settlement of the ethnic conflict, would be addressed in earnest.

We are of the firm belief that the Parliament to be elected on the 17 of August will have to address these issues as a matter of the utmost priority if we as Sri Lankans are to realize the full potential for peace and prosperity in a truly united country that is inherent in all our fellow citizens. We have languished for too long in a post- war situation, in which the roots of conflict are sustained and even allowed to be reproduced. We need to move to a post-conflict situation characterized by the absence of human rights violations and in order to do so, we strongly urge that the following, in particular, be included as firm pledges in your manifestos.

1. Commit to a political and constitutional settlement of the ethnic conflict based on meaningful power-sharing.

2. Ensure families have access to the truth, and hold accountable all those responsible for enforced and involuntary disappearances, and that the crime of disappearances be criminalized under Sri Lankan Law.

3. Repeal or reform the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), bringing it in line with Sri Lanka’s international obligations, and that all long-term detainees be charged or released with immediate effect.

4. Zero tolerance on the issues of enforced and involuntary disappearance, torture, religious and gender based violence and attacks, suppression of dissent and threats on Human Rights Defenders (HRDs).

5. Bring an end to the prevailing culture of impunity, and strengthen the judiciary to uphold the law and hold accountable all those responsible for human rights violations.

6. Put in place processes and mechanisms of transitional justice in conformity with international standards, and continued, constructive engagement with victims, affected communities, local civil society groups and the international community.

7. Ensure an enabling environment for civil society activism.

8. Implement pro-people, participatory and sustainable economic, development and environmental policies, approaches and practices.

Let us NOT miss this historic opportunity for true reform and reconciliation!

Alphonse Mary – Batticaloa
Ameer M. Faaiz – Attorney-at-law
Anandi Sivasubramanium
Anberiya Hanifa
Anushaya Collure
Aruni Jayakody – Attorney-at-law
B. Gowthaman – Attorney-at-law
Balasingham Skanthakumar
Bhavani Fonseka – Attorney-at-law
Brito Fernando
C. Ranitha Gnanarajah – Attorney-at-law
Cayathri D
Chandra Jayaratne
Chandraguptha Thenuwara – Artist/Senior Lecturer
Deanne Uyangoda
Dr. A. Selvendiran – Advisor, NGO Consortium, Batticaloa
Dr. J. T. Xavier F.R.C.S. (Retd.) – Batticaloa
Dr. Jehan Perera
Dr. Malathi de Alwis
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
Dr. Sepali Kottegoda
Faizun Zackariya
Farzana Haniffa
Gajen Mahendra
Gehan Gunatilleke – Attorney-at-law
Godfrey Yogarajah
Herman Kumara
Hilmy Ahamed
Jansila Majeed
Jayanta de S. Wijeratne
Jeanne Samuel
Joe William
K. Aingkaran
K.S. Ratnavale – Attorney-at-law
Kalani Subasinghe
Kumudini Samuel
Kusal Perera – Journalist
Luwie Ganeshathasan – Attorney-at-law
M.A.L. Perera
M.S. Nilashani
Mala Liyanage
Mangaleswary Shanker
Manori Kalugampitiya
Mario Gomez
Marisa de Silva
Menaha Kandasamy
Minoli de Soysa
Mirak Raheem
Mohammed Mahuruf
Nalini Ratnarajah
Nilshan Fonseka
Nimalka Fernando – Attorney-at-law
Niran Anketell – Attorney-at-law
Padmini Weerasooriya
Prabodha Rathnayaka – Attorney-at-law
Priya Thangarajah
Priyanthi Fernando
Prof. Camena Guneratne – Open University of Sri Lanka
Prof. Jayantha Seneviratne – University of Kelaniya
Prof. M.S. Mookiah
R.M.B Senanayake – Retd. CCS
Rajaledsumi – Women’s Rights Activist
Rev. Fr. Anthony Fernando – Salesian of Don Bosco
Rev. Fr. Dixon Fernando SDB – Rector, Don Bosco – Dungalpitiya
Rev. Fr. Guy Fonghaland
Rev. Fr. Jeyabalan Croos
Rev. Fr. Jeyaraj Rasiah SJ
Rev. Fr. Joseph Mary SJ – Batticaloa
Rev. Fr. Nihal Liyanage
Rev. Fr. Rohan Dominic
Rev. Fr. V. Yogeswaran – Attorney-at-law
Rev. Sr. Deepa Fernando HF
Rev. Sr. Nichola Emmanuel SCJM
Rev. Sr. Victorine James – Holy Cross Provincialate, Kochchikade
Rohini Dep Weerasinghe
Rosanna Flamer-Caldera
Ruki Fernando
Sabra Zahid – Attorney-at-law
Sandhya Eknaligoda
Saroja Sivachandran
Sathiya Sarasakopal
Shashika L. Bandara
Sheila Richards
Shreen Saroor
Shyamala Gomez
Solomon Anthony Nirmalan – Claretian Congregation
Sudarshana Gunawardana – Attorney-at-law
Sunanda Deshapriya
Sunela Jayewardene
Suriya Wickremasinghe
T. Mathuri – Attorney-at-law
Udaya Kalupathirana
Visaka Dharmadasa


Alliance Development Trust
Association of War Affected Women
Center for Promotion & Protection of Human Rights (CPPHR)
Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD)
Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA)
Ceylon Workers Red Flag Union
Citizens’ Voice for Justice and Peace
Domestic Workers Union (DWU)
Equal Ground Sri Lanka
Federation of Media Employee’s Trade Unions
Gandhi Sewa Society – Batticaloa
Inform Human Rights Documentation Centre
International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES)
Kantha Shakthi Forum
Mothers and Daughters of Lanka
Muslim Council of Sri Lanka
National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO)
National Peace Council (NPC)
Red Flag Women’s Movement
Right to Life Human Rights Centre (R2L)
Rights Now Collective for Democracy
Secretariat for Muslims (SFM)
Sisters of the Holy Cross
South Asian Centre for Legal Studies
Vikalpani National Women’s Network
Women’s Centre – Ja-Ela
Women’s Development Centre – Jaffna
Women’s Political Academy
Young Asia Television (YATV)

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Latest comments

  • 6

    Though the idea is good i do not see a real cross section of the society representation in the makeup of the Civil Society. Without any leading buddhists included this seems lopsided with large catholic representation. Definitely he SLFP will make use of this fact to counter!

    • 2

      RE: Civil Society Wants Eight Key Pledges To Be Included In Party Manifestos

      You guys, the individuals and organizations need to select a good writer of the caliber of Thomas Paine and write the Sri Lanka common sense Phamplet , in all three language and distribute widely.

      Any Takers for the Sri lankan Common Sense Pamphlet?

      Common Sense (pamphlet)

      Common Sense[1] is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–76 that inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. The pamphlet explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence in clear, simple language. It was published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution and became an immediate sensation. It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places.

      Washington had it read to all his troops, which at the time had surrounded the British army in Boston. In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time (2.5 million), it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history.[2] As of 2006, it remains the all-time best selling American title.[3]

      Common Sense presented the American colonists with an argument for freedom from British rule at a time when the question of whether or not to seek independence was the central issue of the day. Paine wrote and reasoned in a style that common people understood. Forgoing the philosophical and Latin references used by Enlightenment era writers, he structured Common Sense as if it were a sermon, and relied on Biblical references to make his case to the people.[4] He connected independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity.[5] Historian Gordon S. Wood described Common Sense as “the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era”.[6]

      • 3

        This is an excellent initiative of Civil Society organizations.
        One other condition should be included and that is an investigation of corruption at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka for ECONOMIC RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE to Sri Lankan Citizens.

        This means an investigation of Arjuna Mahendran and Ajith Nivard Cabraal and the bond scams and use of EPF and ETF funds as well as an investigation of the firm Perpetual Treasuries. People how have played with tax payers monies must be tried and held accountable and their assets ceased and returned to the EPF and ETF funds that have been robbed.

    • 1

      This writer says Idea is good and then he says leading Buddhists are not included. If it is good, does it matter who says that. We should not fix ethnic labels to every statement made. I am sure people will accept it if it is good and speaks sense. It doesn’t matter if it is said by Catholic or Buddhist, what matters is the content.

    • 0

      Wild beast Gnanasara should definitely be included.

  • 5

    Withdraw the army from the Northern province and release all private lands to its owners for the purpose of peace, reconciliation and to maintain the ownership of properties. This is an important aspect which the civil society has not taken into its mind.

    prohibiting ownership of lands by the citizens and deliberately chasing away the people from their lands by arbitrary Arial bombardment is a violation of Human Rights under the UN Charter.

  • 4

    A waste of time. How many pledges do you think they will keep?

  • 5

    All in all demands put forwarded by human rights organization are real request of Tamil separatist of Eealm state back by Indian-RAW and
    US-CIA political road MAP of split the Island of Sri lanka.
    And re-colonized Islanders by Asian pivot policy of US road map of hegomoinism.

    This type of political contention of so-called reconciliation should eventually reached a imbalance through means such as
    anti-consultation methods of that undermine negotiation and bargaining democracy & human rights said by above so-called outlets of individuals and handful outfits.

    Well this process do lead to uncompromised which is diverted the path and model of democracy and human rights of Sri lanka related norms of Parliamentary mode of democracy.
    Is practices proved by ballot not by LTTE or JVP rule of bullet politics of Rule of Gun!

    Indeed uncompromised so-called devolution packagers also indication of immaturity of democracy and human rights .That missing compromised will lead to terrible environment democracy and more dangerous result will happen. Tamil separatist who criticized the claim of Separatism ethnic of democracy to be a NOT the universal values of human rights.

    The mutual benefit based on symmetry and reciprocity of Sinhalese and Tamil is not the only Tamil foundation for thinking about reasonable behavior towards other majority people of Sri lanka.

    Having US AND INDIAN effective power and the obligations that can follow unidirectional from it can also be an important basis for impartial reasoning going well beyond the Sinhalese motivation of mutual benefit.

    There for we can also be debate on how the different modes of human rights should be weighed against each other and Tamil Seperatraism respective demands integrated together and on how the claim of Eealm of human rights should be consolidated with other evaluative concern that may also deserve national attention.

    We as nation of all Sri Lankan that having 2600 years of civilization of Sinhalese-Buddhist acceptance norms of class of human rights will nevertheless still have enough room for further discussion.

    In fact this is really the nature of the maturity of democracy of Tamil bourgeoisies parties, politics of democracy and its leadership has to be realized but not that isolated elites of several professionals .

    • 0

      You are reflecting the same old Buddhist Fundamentalism which is based on violence, crime and unjustice. Separation does not justify the human rights violation. Majority/Minority in democracy is not about counting the nambers based on religion or language. Even after 2600 years of civilisation, Sinhalese Buddhist Fundamentalist thinking of genocide of other races and religious people has not gone means that separation from Buddhist fundamentalism is the only safe way to other races and religions.

    • 1

      Mark these words. The entire Tamil Diaspora, the Eelamist, the LTTE, the Tigers, and whoever else espouses a Tamil speaking separate state in the North and the East are eagerly waiting for a return of Rajapakse. It is only with Rajapakse at the helm that the Tamil Separatists would be able to lobby effectively in Western capitals for support for their cause.

      If there is a moderate government willing to negotiate a meaningful devolution in the North and East, the Tamil Separatists have no chance of pushing their extremist agenda in the West. Rajapakse himself would be willing to accommodate reasonable Tamil demands, just as much as any other politician. But his core support base is rabid Sinhala-Buddhist nationalists. Thus he is trapped. Consequently he will not negotiate anything with the Tamils paving the way for the Tamil Separatists to justify their claim to a separate N-E State with the international community.

      Sri Lanka being so dependent on the goodwill of the Western government, Rajapakse will eventually yield. Even the Chinese, who by then would have cornered Rajapakse, would advise him to give in to Tamil Separatist demands. And to stop his racist support base from rebelling, he will become more tyrannical, more dictatorial, more undemocratic. Not being able to face a future election to perpetuate family rule, he will take the well-trodden path of past despotic dictators.

      Any intelligent person voting for Rajapakse cabal should consider this prospect.

  • 0

    The Civil Society Group must exclude my Guru Mahinda Rajapakse.

    With his outright victory in the general election, he will elevate himself from his Ehadhipathi status to Chakarawarthi.

    There will be Kali poojas in all the Hindu and Buddhist temples all over Sri Lanka and India enhanced by Kali Kootus (dances) by his devotees.

  • 0

    DR Ajith……

    When I talk and write Sinhalese Buddhist civilization you accuse me as a Buddhist fundamentalist?

    What do you mean by that?

    When I said that Sri lanka 2600 civilization was base of ethnic and religious roots of its history of such roots of Buddhist mode of thought how can it become fundamentalist?

    Comment writer omitted that talking 2600 civilization of Sinhalese-Buddhist not that fundamentalism of any sector , but its call back diversity of civilization of right of human being and existence in past several centuries in our history.

    By Hendry Kissinger said ” For thousand of years in the mainstream of modern European statecraft order has derive from equilibrium and identity from resistance to universal rule. It is not European monarchs were more immune to the glories of conquest than their counterparts in other civilizations or more committed to an ideal of diversity in the abstract…’ rather they lacked the strength to impose their will on each other decisively. In time pluralism took on the characteristics of model of world order.”

    What type of logic of fundamentalism has no relationship with narrow ethnic base against Tamils rights that belongs.

    Those are historical facts of diversification of World civilization, that truth even accepted by Western thinking thanks.
    Your approach of clarification and verification fundamentalist in not base on sciencefict observation and experiment, but it will lead to metaphysis outlook of philosophical school of thought.

    In contrasts with the an opportunity-based or resources based line of thinking, that Tamil ethnic race advantage is judged in capability approach by a person’s advantage capability to do things he or she has no reason to the value of human rights.

    Look at UNP rule during 17 years how they act on Tamil community ? Since UNP- JRJ that originated anti-Tamil violence 1977 immediately they resume to power by five- sixth majority of Parliament .
    Then 1979 ,1981 and 1983 Black July anti-Tamil ratios was key agenda of UNP-democracy of governances. Why is that agenda become priority of UNP?

    It was Neo-liberals policy of created ethnic conflicts among races in small countries to undermined stability, PEACE and DEMOCRACY was the political motivated acts. This was lead to war tone politics of was base on governance replace ballot of democracy to be turn into of RULE of GUN POLITICS of our country. No any human rights of elites rise their voice at that time in against UNP rule?

    Why was that, base on which UNP was lackeys and proxies party of US, UK and EU agents in Sri lanka. Human rights members of Elites has no regretted of Killed Sinhalese-Buddhist youth their call ‘racist’.

    Then come UNP regime killed 90,000 to 100,000 thousands youth that belongs to JVP. What has happen to the human right voices had been silent rise of voice had been suppressed by UNP and their masters in oversees.
    In fact during that time except few persons like MR and VASU raise their voice. At heart of Justice, rather than rejecting justice that can accommodate divergent points of view.

    I have also inspiring shows how the fundamentals human rights and Global justice in modern Sri lanka, must avoid parochialism and redress vital questions of our nation injustice by US and Indian big power houses.

  • 0

    I thought Yahapalana unelected PM has already given most of these demands and or promised to give them and even more.

    Like full devolution to the Northern and Eastern Provincial Governments.with TNA Police and Land Titles.

    Nothing in the list about putting food on the table, which is the greatest concern of the great majority of the inhabitant population.

    If fact most of the 5.8 Million will attest to that after the Yahapala Boss and his offside Galleon Ravi put a stop to all development work in the Country…

    May be all these Gentlemen and Women who put their autographs here, must be well fed.

    Also didn’t see anything about, integrity, honesty, accountability and account keeping ..

    Unless the signatories are happy with those qualities which are abundant in the current Yahapalana Team, which is lead By Ranil Mr Clean, Galleon Ravi, Champaign Malik,Mr Kirra, Dr Rajitha and of course the head Driver of our Economy, the Central Bank Boss Dr Mahendran.

    Was Dr Paikiosothy in the list?…

    • 2

      KASmaalam K.A Sumanasekera

      “Nothing in the list about putting food on the table, which is the greatest concern of the great majority of the inhabitant population.”

      Do you recon that if Mahinda is in, he would be able to feed 21 Million inhabitants 3 course meal 3 times a day at his Official residence “Temple Trees” all at the same time?

      By the way what MR has to offer except his clanging b***s, racist Sinhala/Buddhism and JOB for the boys? However he will get to keep whatever gain the clan makes out of misery of the masses.

      You should support the underdogs not Mahinda who thinks he is the master of the universe. Is he a yuga purushaya?


      Just before the presidential elections Prof. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa and his “academics” from the University of Kelaniya predicted 53% of votes for Mahinda.

      I wonder what is his predictions going to be for the up coming elections.

      The court astrologer Sumanadasa Abeygunawardena confessed “Even Nostradamus got things wrong”

  • 0

    1. Commit to a political and constitutional settlement of the ethnic conflict based on meaningful power-sharing.

    I suggest the following condition is the most suitable:

    1.Committ to all-party discussions to agree on a roadmap for a political settlement fully acceptable to all parties.

    You must remember that the last set of ‘peace talks’ were in 2005 during the ceasefire. The situation now is different, discussions can take place without the threat of conflict.

    The roadmap part is important as it will set the ‘modalities’ on a sensitive issue without causing too much controversy.

    Let’s try again to achieve a lasting peace. For a start let’s talk and only talk, and understand.

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