Colombo Telegraph

Denying Visas To International Bar Delegation: Foreign Ministry Acting With Miscomprehension Of Facts – Bar Association

It appears that the Ministry of External Affairs is acting with miscomprehension of facts on the grant of visas which is a matter within the Controller of Immigration and not the Ministry of External Affairs, says the Bar Association of Sr Lanka.

BASL President, Upul Jayasuriya

Issuing a statement contradicting the communique issued by the Ministry of External Affairs regarding the cancellation of visas of the International Bar Association’s high-level delegation to Sri Lanka, president of the Bar Association of Sr Lanka Upul Jayasuriya said; “We have not requested for any assistance from the Ministry either in the form of logistics or accommodation. We have made all arrangements to go ahead with the seminar at a time the topic of discussion is most relevant to  Sri Lanka.”

We publish below the statement in full;

The Bar Association of Sr Lanka in collaboration with the International Bar Association (IBL), of which the BASL is a member was organizing a seminar on  “Commonwealth Values and the Role of the Legal Profession” to be held on the 13th of November 2013 at the “Grand Monarch” at Thalawathugoda.

This seminar was to be addressed by Ms. Gabriela Knaul UN Special Rapporteur for Judges and Lawyers, the first ever UN Special Rapporteur for Judges and Lawyers Dato Param Kumaraswamy, and a senior representative of the IBA, Alex Wilks. Their visa’s were applied for by letter dated 17 August 2013 by the Secretary, Bar Association of Sri Lanka along with a visa for Mr. Sadakat Kadri. The first three visas were issued whereas Mr. Sadakat Kadri was refused his visa. Visa’s that were issued bear the following ETA Nos.

130826PG1218467 – 130826PM1504191- Gabriela Knaul

130826PG1218467 – 130826PM1504192- Paramasothi Cumaraswamy

130826PG1218467 – 130826PM1504189 – Alexander Jeffrey Wilks

All these three Visas were granted on the basis of travel purpose as, CONFERENCE, WORKSHOPS AND SEMINARS. At no stage has the Bar Association of Sri Lanka been written to by the Department of Immigration or any other agency of the Government relating to any prior approval for the purpose of holding “special procedures” applicable for the holding of Seminars with the participation of foreign dignitaries.

It appears that the Ministry of External Affairs is acting with miscomprehension of facts on the grant of visas which is a matter within the Controller of Immigration and not the Ministry of External Affairs. As per the communique issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, It appears that the Ministry is unaware that the three visas have been granted.

We have not requested for any assistance from the Ministry either in the form of logistics or accommodation. We have made all arrangements to go ahead with the seminar at a time the topic of discussion is most relevant to  Sri Lanka.

We considered it our duty to make the voice of the legal profession heard at a time when Sri Lanka is taking over the Chair-in-office of the coveted Commonwealth Organisation, which has now being thwarted with the cancellation of the valid visas that have been issued to them by the Controller of Immigration.

Upul Jayasuriya

President

BASL

Related posts;

Invitation By BASL & IBAHRI: Making Commonwealth Values A Reality

Sri Lanka Denies Entry To International Bar Delegation For The Second Time, Ahead Of CHOGM

Govt Denies IBAHRI Claim, Delegation Says Is Being Prevented From Entering Lanka

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