The Civil Society Collective for Democracy, also known by its slogan ‘Stand for Democracy’, a coalition of concerned citizens and organizations, including civil
society organizations, professionals, academics, trade unions, youth leaders, activists, media personnel, religious figures, and other influencers, convened today (2023.08.29) at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI) to deliver a crucial wake-up call to the nation’s political leaders. The urgent call is to halt state repression and safeguard the democratic rights of the people, in order to ensure actual and equitable economic recovery.
The Civil Society Collective expresses deep concern over the rapid shrinking of democratic space within the country, with Constitutionally guaranteed rights and
freedoms such as the freedom of expression, right to information, right to dissent, right to protest, freedom of association and the right to franchise being snatched
away, leaving citizens often powerless. This surge in silencing voices and the targeting and harassment of those who question the authorities, have created a
chilling effect among the people, leading to self-censorship. Furthermore, the rulers have been abusing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
and the contentious Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to target political opponents, civil society activists, and journalists, contrary to international commitments,
including those made at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The recent attempts to introduce extremely oppressive versions of laws such as the Anti-Terrorism Act, Broadcasting Commission Act and the NGO Act are examples of Government’s attempt to threaten and control democratic space.
Full statement (Sinhala/Tamil/English) – Download