The protest movement evolved out of the real grievances of the people which made it a mass movement. The former government denied its responsibility for the catastrophic conditions in the country and also failed to take the necessary steps to resolve the crisis. The violence that was perpetrated was initiated by that government. The new government now in place with a new president but is composed largely of the cabinet of ministers who had resigned in May 2022. This has added to the continued frustrations of the protesters.
The National Peace Council calls on the government to investigate the causes of the economic collapse and take action against those who are responsible. We also call on the government to declare early elections to renew the mandate of parliament which had been lost in the hearts and minds of the people due to the many debacles that the country has suffered on account of mis-governance and corruption.
We regret that instead of addressing the underlying causes of the protests, the government is targeting prominent and key members of the protest movement with flimsy charges and under conditions of Emergency Law in which the regular law and its protections can be suspended in their operation. The Fitch Rating of Sri Lanka dated July 28, 2022, states that the government’s parliamentary position appears strong, but public support for the government is weaker. It is therefore important for the government to hear the legitimate voices of the protesters and find ways and means of engaging with them in a meaningful manner rather than ostracizing them.
The National Peace Council is an independent and non partisan organization that works towards a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. It has a vision of a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka in which the freedom, human rights and democratic rights of all the communities are respected. The policy of the National Peace Council is determined by its Governing Council of 20 members who are drawn from diverse walks of life and belong to all the main ethnic and religious communities in the country.