A group of senior legal practitioners have stated the travel restrictions imposed by the government on visiting North for foreign passport holders, is illegal as no such law sanctioning the regulation of visits to the Northern province exists.
Releasing a statement on the decision made by the government that now requires foreign passport holders travelling to the North to obtain prior permission from the Ministry of Defense, the Lawyers Collective (LC) has noted that under Article 14 (1) (h) of the Constitution, every citizen of the country enjoys the freedom of movement within the country and that Article 12 (1) prohibits all arbitrary state actions irrespective of whether the affected individuals are citizens or not.
Upon examination of the legal provisions, LC Coveners JC Weliamuna and Lal Wijenayake have stated that a series of Supreme Court decisions have clearly established that any restrictions on travel or freedom of movement must be ‘prescribed by law’ – which means that it should be sanctioned either through a parliamentary statute or by an emergency regulation.
Since there is no such law or regulation in existence at present regulating the travel to the Northern province, the LC points out that no authority including the Ministry of Defense (MoD) is able to introduce administrative procedures that restrict freedom of movement of locals or foreigners.
“The government has not revealed reasons for the restrictions and neither the MoD nor the government have revealed reasons as to why such restrictions are necessary exclusively in the Northern Province,” the legal practitioners have pointed out in their statement adding that the restriction that exists on foreigners is an extremely arbitrary yardstick to be decided by the military.
They have further stated that since there is no war in any part of Sri Lanka that justifies the re-imposition of the travel restrictions, this decision has impacted the tourism development and infrastructural development projects targeting war affected areas.
Furthermore the LC has noted that against the backdrop of Presidential elections in the offing in which the current President who is also the Minister of Defense is likely to contest, such restrictions are not only inappropriate but also raise questions of ulterior motives and the validity of such administrative restrictions.
Sengodan. M / November 5, 2014
The whole problem is that the government does not follow its own laws! It is descending towards total dictatorship and thereby anarchy!
Ata Kuttama / November 5, 2014
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Amarasiri / November 5, 2014
“Travel Restrictions To The North Is Illegal: Lawyers Collective” May Be
Restrictions the application of Law and order is Illegal.
The list is too long. Long and long…
The Rajapaksas do not know why Illegal Means. This includes the Sinhala “Buddhist” monks too.
Sylvia Haik / November 5, 2014
Despite that fact that there is no war anywhere in Sri Lanka, the laws that existed when there was war have never been repealed and under these emergency laws the Rajapakses are free to do anything they like. I urge people to watch the PBS documentary entitled The Rise of the Nazi Party. They will recognise a frightening parallel in the early days of Hitler, one of his first acts was to slip through and Enabling law by cajoling the parliament with false promises and lies. The one thing that that law enabled him to do was to force through his racist laws and the rest is history. It’s like the genie granting a child 3 wishes. A wise child would include the power to have more wishes as his priority
BBS Rep / November 5, 2014
What practices in Sri Lanka at the moment is not illegal.
Is abducting, detaining and intimidating a woman who is looking for her husband who disappeared in the hands of the police legal?
Is torture legal?
Is misappropriation of government funds legal?
Is corruption legal?
Is blocking roads in a major city so that affluent children of the elite could race each other in very expensive cars legal?
Is killing of Muslims in Aluthgama legal?
Is saffron robed thugs inciting people to loot, commit arson, kill and main minority communities legal?
Is being president for life legal?
Ah the list goes on and on and on.
mike / November 5, 2014
@ BBS Rep
Is the incumbent “President” legal? Is the current “Chief Justice” (a.k.a. Cheap Justice) legal? You are right, the list goes on and on.
Thiru / November 5, 2014
Ask the mahanayake of Asgiriya chapter: He will tell you that you are making big thing out of small isolated incidents which occur in most countries.
So long as these racists are revered nothing can be done to change the appalling situation.
Even the US and UK diplomats are bowing down to these racists!
What can you expect in this crazy geopolitical situation?
Peace Lover / November 5, 2014
Its ok dont worry about those travel restrictions as its part of “our way of life for the majority inhabitants” as told by the ever green hero K A Sumanasekera ;-)
Diogenes / November 5, 2014
What is illegal is legal for Rajapaksas. Robbing and plundering and selling the resources of the country is patriotism. Miracle of Asia is a miraculous land where all possible sins and vices are committed and encouraged as pure Theravaadhi Buddhism!
Jim softy / November 5, 2014
If it is illegal, make it legal.
that is all what the govt has to do.
Native Vedda / November 5, 2014
“If it is illegal, make it legal.”
My Elders should have made it illegal for the Kallathonie North/South Indians to travel to my ancestral land, it would have put an end to your presence in this island.
It is not too late, please go.
Mesal / November 9, 2014
Is it legal for Fathima Fukushima and this Jim Nutty to travel North?
Dr.Rajasingham Narendran / November 5, 2014
If illegal, why has this issue been taken to the Supreme/not-so-Suprme Court by the BASL?
This was done before and redress obtained when Tamils who had come to Colombo for various reasons were being packed into buses and sent back by the defense establishment.
Why the delay?
Pot Shot / November 5, 2014
By imposing restrictions the government is indirectly implying that it is a “separate state”.