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Thursday June 20th, 2024

Sri Lanka amends emergency law to protect LGBTQI+ community

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has amended an emergency law after concerns were raised that members of the LGBTQI+ community were exposed to arbitrary arrest in a new gazette notice.

In an gazette notice published under the hand of President Ranil Wickremesinghe Articles 365 and 365A of the Penal Code from regulations 11 and 12 of the Emergency proclamation had been removed.

“The President has been notified of the problematic situation for the LGBT+ community under the prevailing Emergency laws, and he has notified the Attorney General to create the necessary legal background to amend the situation,” Wickremesinghe’s office said on Friday.

Articles 365 and 365A, criminalise “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” and “acts of gross indecency” and are commonly used to discriminate against members of the LGBTQI+ community.

Article 365 states that “voluntary carnal intercourse against the order of nature” is a crime punishable by fines and ten to twenty years of imprisonment.

According to Article 365A, any person engaging in “acts of gross indecency” in public or in private can be fined or imprisoned.

The law does not specify member of the community, and “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” and “acts of gross indecency” is open to any interpretation that does not involve actual procreation critics say.

Including these Articles in the Emergency Regulations endangers the lives of the Sri Lankan queer community, as they could be arrested from their homes for their sexuality, or even suspected sexuality.

This was brought to Wickremesinghe‘s attention by members of the Liberal Fellowship Representatives, a protest group, during a discussion on Friday.

“He said he doesn’t want to cause unnecessary harm to members of the community,” said a member of the Liberal Fellowship Representatives.

Representatives of protest groups called for the Emergency Laws in its entirety to removed, but President Wickremesinghe has so far refused to do so.

Related: Sri Lanka parliament endorses emergency law for 30 days (Colombo/Aug07/2022)

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Sri Lanka shares debt management experience at global forum

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has shared its experiences at a forum on debt management to “provide lessons for others”, State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe has said.

Semasinghe spoke on “The Role of Debt Management in Navigating Crises” at the 14th Debt Management Facility (DMF) Stakeholders’ Forum, in Livingstone, Zambia.

“I shared the experiences of Sri Lanka which can provide valuable lessons for others and explored the critical elements of capacity building and sound institutional practices in managing debt, particularly in the context of economic challenges,” Semasinghe said on X (twitter).

“Sri Lanka’s experience demonstrates that effective debt management is not just about managing numbers but also about building robust institutions and capacities.”

The journey underscores the importance of transparent, accountable governance and the need for international support and cooperation in times of crisis, he said.

“Sri Lanka prioritized addressing gaps in public debt management by drafting a consolidated Public Debt Management Act, ensuring clarity and legal robustness and establishing a centralized Public Debt Management Office with operational autonomy.

“The role of debt management in navigating crises is multifaceted and critical. Further, by investing in capacity building, adhering to sound institutional practices, and strategically managing debt restructuring and liability operations, countries can better withstand economic shocks and pave the way for sustainable recovery.”

Developing countries face severe debt distress as they are more vulnerable to external shocks, Semasinghe said, and “managing global debt requires coordinated international efforts on debt restructuring where necessary, timely fiscal policy adaptation and help sustainable economic growth.”

The state minister also pointed out the financial impact of climate change was an emerging challenge, as countries need investment to mitigate and adapt to climate impacts, “especially through non-debt creating inflows, which would require private capital mobilization.” (Colombo/Jun20/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes stronger at 305.10/30 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed stronger ahead of the long weekend at 305.10/30 to the US dollar on Thursday, up from 305.40/55 to the US dollar Wednesday, dealers said, while some bond yields edged up.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.45/80 percent, up from 10.35/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 11.20/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.00/15 percent, up from 11.95/12.35 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.12.2031 closed at 12.05/25 percent.

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Sri Lanka stocks close up, JKH trade pushes turnover

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Thursday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed up 0.19 percent, or 23.11 points, at 12,249; while the more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed up 0.15 percent, or 5.33 points, at 3,610.

Turnover was 2 billion. Nearly half of this (Rs980mn) came from a crossing on John Keells Holdings Plc. The share closed down at 202.00.

“There were several crossings today which pushed turnover,” market participants said.

“Institutions and high net-worth activity drove the market, while the retail investors we feel are still about uncertain and adopting a wait-and-see approach.”

Melstacorp Plc was among the companies that saw active volumes (Rs194mn) in the day. The share closed up at 87.10.

Top contributors to the index included TeeJay Lanka Plc (up at 41.70), Sampath Bank Plc (up at 79.50), Hatton National Bank Plc (down at 201.00). Hayleys Plc (up at 105.00) and its subsidiary Hayleys Fabric Plc (up at 46.60) were also positive contributors. (Colombo/Jun20/2024)

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