The attention of the External Affairs Ministry has been drawn to an incident that occurred at the Centre for Society and Religion in Colombo on 4th August. According to reports, a meeting had been organized by the NGO “Right to Life Human Rights Centre” involving families of disappeared persons from the North. However, another NGO, “Parents’ Collective of Disappeared Persons”, had sought access to the meeting, demanding that their grievances be heard too. An ensuing argument had led to a tense situation which had subsequently been brought under control by law enforcement authorities. Several diplomatic representatives from western Missions based in Colombo had also been present at the event.
While recognizing the fundamental right to freedom of assembly and expression, the Ministry wishes to point out that that, once again, a certain section of the diplomatic corps appears to be involved in a manner lacking in objectivity, in events organized for a particular region and community. This has led to the emergence of a pattern of such potentially volatile situations giving rise to the perpetuation of mistrust amongst communities at a sensitive juncture in the country’s history.
The Ministry wishes to urge the diplomatic community to be more conscious of local sensitivities when attending events of an emotive nature.
Ministry of External Affairs
5th August 2014