The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) reiterated its call for a smooth and peaceful transition of power in a media statement issued today (12), and welcomed the short time frame adopted by the Party Leaders, which should be followed.
“The events of July 9th, 2022, are unprecedented in our nation’s history, reflecting the public’s deep dissatisfaction, drawing hundreds of thousands of protestors to Colombo.”
The protests have resulted in President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s impending resignation.
“The Party Leaders Meeting has announced that his successor will be elected on July 20th, 2022,” the BASL stated.
It also stated that the contributions and sacrifices made by those seeking real change in Sri Lanka in recent months are immeasurable.
However, the BASL also stated that, while it is critical to keep the demands and aspirations of the protesting public in mind, it is also critical to ensure an orderly transition, continued respect for the Rule of Law, and commitment to Constitutionalism in Sri Lanka.
“Respect for the Rule of Law and Constitutionalism is critical to protecting the rights and livelihoods of the people of Sri Lanka,” it said.
Deep concern was also expressed about statements attributed to various parties, including protest groups, that appear to undermine the rule of law and constitutional governance in Sri Lanka.
“BASL unequivocally states that at this critical juncture in our country, all citizens must respect the Rule of Law and Constitutional Governance.”
Ignoring the provisions of the Constitution, which is the framework under which Sri Lanka is governed, is not in the best interests of our country or its people.
Respect for the Constitution, its Institutions, and the Rule of Law will ensure that the Government’s functions that are critical to the life of the community and its people continue,” the statement said.
The BASL also notes that members of protest groups are occupying the President’s House, Temple Trees, and the Presidential Secretariat, and that large crowds continue to visit the premises.
“The BASL is deeply troubled by reports of vandalism at Temple Trees and the President’s House.”
We urge those who occupy these premises to ensure that the buildings are turned over to the proper authorities.
We also urge those who occupy them to protect documents and other public property, many of which are archaeologically significant.
“We also urge them to respect the sanctity of these structures,” the association stated.
Finally, all parties were urged to continue finding democratic solutions to the current economic and political instability using the existing constitutional framework and legal process and to advocate for changes in a way that does not jeopardize the administration of justice.