Responding to the impeachment of Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice, the latest development in Sri Lanka’s ongoing constitutional crisis, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice have demanded that the Commonwealth take action. The impeachment comes in direct contravention of a Constitutional determination by the Sri Lankan Supreme Court.
Events such as these are a clear violation of the the Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles on the Three Branches of Government. As such they should lead the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group to pursue a process which leads, if there is not improvement, to Sri Lanka’s suspension from the Commonwealth.
Relations between Sri Lanka’s Government and its judiciary have been appalling for some time, yet the Commonwealth, in particular the Secretary General, have been muted in their criticism. The CHRI and SLC charge that this has been a contributing factor in the Sri Lankan Government’s increasingly brazen disregard for judicial independence.
You can read the full statement here, or here are some quotes:
“It has for some time been very clear that the conduct of the government of Sri Lanka has not been in keeping with the fundamental values of the Commonwealth.
“Serious and persistent violations of Commonwealth values by the government have been repeatedly brought to the attention of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), Commonwealth Governments, and the Commonwealth Secretary-General, by concerned governments and Commonwealth civil society.
“The Sri Lankan actions – coming as they do in defiance of the Commonwealth’s official caution – are clear evidence of its brazen determination to continue on a course inimical to the fundamental values of the association.”