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Tuesday December 5th, 2023

Sri Lanka apex court rules de-radicalisation regulations unconstitutional

ECONOMYNEXT — Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has ruled that the Prevention of Terrorism (De-radicalisation from holding violent extremist religious ideology) Regulations No. 1 of 2021 violated Articles 10, 12(1) & 13 of the constitution and were null and void.

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) challenged the validity of the guidelines in April 2021, and  a stay order preventing the application of the rehabilitation scheme was issued in January 2022, the CPA said in a statement on Monday November 13.

The scheme under the guidelines would have amounted to pre-trial punishment, and would have permitted the abuse of power, allowing the state to police the freedom of thought and conscience of the people, the CPA said.

The regulations were published in the Extraordinary Gazette No. 2218/68 dated Friday, March 12, 2021.

In its petition filed in April 2021, the CPA and its Executive Director Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu said that while they recognised the need to integrate a process of rehabilitation into the criminal justice system, the impugned regulations violate several of Sri Lanka’s constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights, of the petitioners as well as of the general public.

The petitioners argued that the regulations served to enable the denial of due process, due judicial protection and a fair trial, and result in an arbitrary deprivation of liberty, entailing infringement and/or imminent infringement of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 12(1), 13(2), 13(3), 13(4) and 13(5) of the constitution.

“They also argue that the impugned regulations, and the broad language contained therein, entail provisions that may result in degrading treatment of persons and deny persons the safeguards provided by law in cases of detention and imprisonment and thus and otherwise entail infringement and/or imminent infringement of Articles 10, 11, 14(1)(a), 14(1)(c), 14(1)(e) and 14(1)(f) of the constitution,” the CPA said in a statement at the time.

The petitioners also maintained that the impugned regulations are ultra vires as they have not been promulgated by the proper authority and thus and otherwise entail infringement of Article 12(1) of the constitution. They further argued that the impugned regulations had the effect of conferring and/or transferring discretion required to be exercised (as may be duly conferred upon it by law) by the judicial arm of government, to the executive arm of government in a manner inconsistent with Articles 3 and 4 of the constitution and thus and otherwise entail infringement of Article 12(1) of the constitution.

The petitioners prayed for inter alia declarations that the impugned regulations violate the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution, and that they are null and void and of no avail in law. (Colombo/Nov13/2023)

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Sri Lanka stocks close up as some investor interest returns

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Monday, CSE data showed.

The All Share Price Index was up 0.22 percent, or 23.33 points, at 10,743.59.

The S&P SL20 index was up 0.68 percent, or 20.60 points, at 3,067.73.

Turnover was at 708 million. The banks sector contributed 189 million, while the food, beverage and tobacco sector contributed 176 million of this.

Sri Lanka’s stock market has seen some investor interest return after last week’s news that the country had managed an agreement on a debt restructuring deal with an official creditor committee, and foreign funds for some development projects resumed.

Top positive contributors to the ASPI in the day were Sampath Bank Plc (up at 71.50), LOLC Holdings Plc (up at 379.00), and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, (up at 90.90).

There was a net foreign outflow of 52 million.

Citrus Leisure Plc, which announced that its banquet hall and revolving restaurant at the Lotus Tower would launch on or around Dec 9, saw its share price rise to 6.20 rupees. (Colombo/Dec4/2023).

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Sri Lanka rupee closes broadly steady at 328.10/30 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 328.10/30 to the US dollar on Monday, from 328.00/10 on Friday, dealers said.

Bond yields were stable.

A bond maturing on 01.06.2025 closed at 13.70/14.00 percent from 13.70/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 closed at 13.90/14.10 percent from 13.90/14.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.01.2027 closed at 14.00/14.10 percent from 14.05/10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 14.20/35 percent from 14.15/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 14.25/45 percent, from 14.20/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 14.05/40 percent, from 14.00/45 percent. (Colombo/Dec4/2023)

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Gov minister highlights abortion rights, sex-ed for children, and Sri Lanka men killing their women

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s legislators have politicized the topics of rape and violence without addressing the elephant in the room, Jeevan Thondaman, Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development said in parliament on Monday (4).

“All the members here are talking about rape. What happens after that? We must talk about abortion rights. That is not something anyone wants to touch on, and that is why we are in this place right now,” Thondaman said.

“Despite alarming statistics on rape and violence, women are often blamed and punished for it. The criminalisation of abortion is a major example of this.”

Sri Lanka has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. According to a 2016 estimate by the Health Ministry, he said, approximately 658 abortions take place a day, and close to 250,000 a year.

“That’s 250,000 women whose lives you are endangering.”

He added that what was needed at this point in time was comprehensive sexual education (CSE) for children and young people.

“Only through CSE in schools will children and young people develop, accurate, age appropriate knowledge attitude and skills; positive values such as respect for human rights, gender equality, diversity and attitude and skills that contribute to a safe, healthy and positive relationship.”

Thondaman pointed out that CSE plays a pivotal role in preparing young people for a world where HIV, AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, and sexual and gender based violence still pose a risk to their well-being.

“CSE basically empowers children take control and make informed decisions freely and responsibly.”

Thondaman also highlighted the findings of a 2021 study (Fatalities_20211109_UNFPA) by the UNFPA and the University of Kelaniya that showed that a majority of women killed in Sri Lanka were murdered by those close to them.

“62 percent of homicides of Sri Lankan women are committed by either an intimate partner, ex-partner or family member. 84 percent are killed in their own homes by someone they know.”

Police and the judiciary have failed Sri Lanka’s women, the minister pointed out.

“Only 5 percent of these cases, between 2013-2017, were ever concluded. Men claim they were provoked, or are of unsound mind or have mental illness: These have been successful defenses. And the Police often express sympathy to this narrative as opposed to the victim’s.”

“We have a history of protecting oppressors.”

It takes 7-10 years for a child rape case to conclude, he pointed out.

Establishment of child courts are needed, he said, as well as several legislative amendments. “The government is working on a new law to reform the domestic violence act, reform of marriage and divorce laws to ensure there is an easier path to divorce: no one should be forced to remain in a marriage that is either abusive or not healthy.” (Colombo/Dec4/2023)

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