Sri Lanka Bar Association to take legal action against government declaration on high-security zones: report

A day after Sri Lanka’s president declared several areas of government buildings as high-security zones and banned all protests in those places, the country’s powerful bar association said on Saturday it would take legal action against the decision’ ‘draconian’ to ensure that no fundamental measure the rights of the people are violated.

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday declared in an extraordinary gazette several key places in Colombo, including the Parliament, the Supreme Court complex and the President’s Secretariat, among others, as high security zones, prohibiting any demonstrations in nearby premises.

This decision, which is a restriction to that of the era of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam which saw suicide explosions at such key locations, even prevents the parking of cars in any of the areas near the premises of the main government buildings.

Significantly, some of the designated places were the scene of major public unrest which demanded the resignation of then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa between early April and mid-July as the people agitated against the Rajapaksha family. for managing Sri Lanka’s economic crisis.

Reacting to the government’s decision, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) said it would carefully study the provisions of the order issued by the President and take appropriate legal steps to ensure that the basic rights of the people are guaranteed, the Colombo Gazette reported.

Calling the order’s provision “draconian”, the BASL said such orders violate freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of movement.

“BASL is deeply concerned that, under the guise of the purported order under Section 2 of the Official Secrets Act, draconian provisions are being imposed for the detention of persons who violate these orders, thereby violating freedom of expression, freedom of peace of assembly and freedom of movement which are all important aspects of the people’s right to dissent in Sri Lanka,” the report said citing a statement from the BASL.

In accordance with the new notification, demonstrations and public gatherings in areas declared high security zones are prohibited, while parking of vehicles will not be permitted near the designated locations.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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