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Thursday June 20th, 2024

Sri Lanka’s bill to decriminalize homosexuality faces dissent from religious, civil rights groups

ECONOMYNEXT- A bill to decriminalize homosexuality in Sri Lanka has faced some dissent, a ruling party legislator has said, as the island nation has seen some support for the bill in the parliament.

The bill, tabled by Premnath Dolawatta, a parliament member in the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), has yet to get the signatures of the majority of the 225-member parliament.

The bill has got the support of many including opposition, but still needs signatures from at least 30 legislators to enact the bill as a law, Dolawatta said.

“There has been some dissent, especially upon religious and civil rights groups,” Dolawatta told an LGBTQ forum on June 7 in Colombo.

He said some opposition members and government ministers have given their fullest support for the bill so far.

In 2023, a group of petitioners challenged the bill in  the supreme court citing that it was against the constitution of the country.

“Its sexual orientation differs from that of heterosexual individuals, it is unnatural,” said Jehan Hameed, a petitioner against the bill told EconomyNext.

“This development is highly worrisome,” she said, adding that homosexuality still remains a crime in the constitution.

The Penal Code criminalizes ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature’ and it has been used to disproportionately target gay and lesbian individuals.

The Supreme Court, however, has ruled the private bill was not inconsistent with the constitution.

Some activists against the bill have raised concerns that passing the bill means repealing of section penal code against the homosexuality and that could open a floodgate to child abuse.

“We have had many petitions from people from religious and cultural groups,” Dolawatta said.

“However, we have not had any opposition from groups of lawyers or psychiatrists. It is no secret that the SLPP has the majority in the parliament. We just have to work with these ministers in order to pass such a law.” (Colombo/June 12/2023)

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  1. Dr P Thilakawardhana says:

    Is this the most important priority? With 3/5 th of the population starving, nearly 25th of the working population is unemployed. Hospitals without Medicines, and running on skeleton staff,1/5 th of the doctors leaving the country permanently, every man, woman and child indebted to international organizations and the population embroiled in all sorts of conflicts.
    As always Sri Lankans have got their priorities the wrong way around.

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  1. Dr P Thilakawardhana says:

    Is this the most important priority? With 3/5 th of the population starving, nearly 25th of the working population is unemployed. Hospitals without Medicines, and running on skeleton staff,1/5 th of the doctors leaving the country permanently, every man, woman and child indebted to international organizations and the population embroiled in all sorts of conflicts.
    As always Sri Lankans have got their priorities the wrong way around.

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.
(Colombo/Jun20/2024)

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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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