“Compiled Situation Updates: Kandy and Related Incidents” by Groundviews

From March 5 onwards, there has been unrest in the Kandy district, originating in Digana. What began as a personal altercation eventually spiraled into violence, with Buddhist mobs attacking Muslim-owned properties, homes and places of worship. In the span of less than a week, a national State of Emergency was declared. Social media platforms Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram were blocked by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC). Meanwhile, the situation on the ground was extremely volatile for at least two days, particularly with mobs carrying out attacks even after curfew was declared.

Throughout this time, Groundviews compiled a series of regular situation updates, with background from trusted and reliable sources. We also compiled an archive of official statements, reportage and commentary and videos propagating hate speech, availablehere.

View full story here.

“Understanding a State of Emergency: March 2018” by Centre for Policy Alternatives

Sri Lanka’s last state of emergency lasted for 28 years, and was terminated in August 2011, having continuously been extended by governments since it was first declared in 1983. On March 6th 2018, President Maithripala Sirisena declared a state of emergency in order to address and contain the violence unfolding in the Kandy district, where violent attacks on the Muslim community saw widespread property damage and two deaths. When it was gazetted, it was intended to last for ten days. However statements by the Presidential Secretary and the Prime Minister on its extension have raised concern.

A new brief provides comprehensive answers to the following questions.

What is meant by a ‘State of Emergency’?
What is the procedure for the declaration of emergency?
Was this procedure followed in March 2018?
What are the legal effects of a state of emergency?
To what extent are citizens’ rights curtailed in this period?
How does the Sri Lankan legal framework for states of emergency align with international standards?
What concerns are raised by the past experience of states of emergency?

This was prepared by CPA Research Fellow Dr. Asanga Welikala. He has previously authored A State of Permanent Crisis: Constitutional Government, Fundamental Rights and States of Emergency in Sri Lanka, States of Emergency: Issues for Constitutional Design and The state of Emergency in Peacetime.

Click here to access the full brief.