11 May 2022
While South Asia is ravaged by multiple crises, SAAPE is especially concerned about the recent developments taking place in Sri Lanka. The government of Sri Lanka has failed to protect people’s right to right to freedom of opinion and expression. A recent attack on the peaceful protests demanding the end of an autocratic regime led by the Rajapaksa family and their supporters, by the pro-government mobs is a serious violation of people’s right to protest. The reluctance of the security forces to protect peaceful protesters is an act of blatant state repression. We condemn the human rights violation in Sri Lanka and demand an immediate response from the government to address the people’s demands through a peaceful process. The present government has failed to perform its basic duties to protect the lives of the Sri Lankan people as we have seen many instances of people waiting in long queues to get daily essentials like food, fuel, medicines and even medical treatment. Sri Lanka needs an immediate cancellation of debt. Inviting huge engagement of multi-lateral donors and international financial institutions in reviving the economy would bring Sri Lanka to another long-term crisis that will bring the Sri Lankan economy to the never-ending indebtedness. We urge the Sri Lankan government to unilaterally suspend the debt payments followed by a citizens’ debt audit involving social movements. The illegitimate portion of the debt identified in the audit should be repudiated. At this moment of crisis, Sri Lankan people need basic needs such as food, energy, medicine, and then basic public services to revive their normal life. We extend our solidarity to the citizen’s peaceful protest which has emerged as a new people’s movement to bring fundamental changes to the existing power structure.