Over 100 activists from 50 countries meeting in Johannesburg during International Civil Society Week are deeply concerned by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakshe’s statement at the inauguration of the Commonwealth Peoples Forum in Colombo:
“While diversity of opinion is natural in civil society, it is important that one basic quality should underpin the work and the thinking of all civil society organizations. This quality without doubt should be feeling for one’s motherland and commitment to her well-being. The stature and territorial integrity of the country is the crucial consideration.”
We are concerned at the implied criticism and threat in the statement. We believe it is a sacred patriotic duty for collectives and every individual to draw attention to wrong doing, call for accountability and for governments to support and join in this endeavour, accept dissent and critique, and protect the rights of individuals and collectives who use the rule of law and call upon conscience to right those wrongs.
Read the full press release here – http://www.cpalanka.org/global-call-for-the-protection-of-civil-society-in-sri-lanka/