Independence Day: Hard look at what it really means to the vast majority of people in Sri Lanka

| A statement issued by the Campaign for Democracy in Sri Lanka(CDSL) – Canada

( February 05, Toronto, Sri Lanka Guardian) It has been 64 years since we got independence from British Imperialist. The celebrations have been organized in Sri Lanka as well as in other countries including Canada.
Independence means the self-government of a nation, country or state by its citizens. Core objective of countries seeking independence was to create a society founded on the Rule of Law, respecting human rights and ability to exercise universal right to vote. Other than the political sovereignty (we are not controlled by external government) we have not achieved any of the other fundamental objectives.
Are Sri Lankans able to elect their representatives in a fair and free manner? We know how the recent elections were conducted in Sri Lanka with full force of the governing regime and it’s media with blatantly abusing the electoral process. How can people be independent when their fundamental right to elect people of their choice is abused, manipulated and not done in line with accepted norms?
Do all the citizens of Sri Lanka have the universal right of freedom of expression where this is exercised in any civilized country in the world without fear of abduction, imprisonment or killed? We really do not think that it exists in Sri Lanka. Journalist are threatened, harassed and abducted and media premises are attacked and destroyed. People are being fed day and night with dictatorial regime’s propaganda with all the opposition voices are silenced. Those well respected journalists who fled the country to escape death have been exposing the regime. However, the vast majority of Sri Lankans are not able to hear these voices as the web sites opposed to the regime are blocked in Sri Lanka.
Does the rule of law in Sri Lanka apply to every citizen equally? If so, how do the rapist and murders publicly violate the law are in the parliament today while kangaroo courts punish the people by framed allegations. We also should be the only country that murders and criminals are granted presidential pardon while perpetrators who murder people on broad day light go unpunished if they are henchmen of the regime.
Gross mismanagement and rampant corruption in Sri Lanka has gone into the every corner of the society today. People can not do anything without paying a bribe. This is not what we expect from a real independent country and we do not think it was the objectives of those who fought for independence.
We believe there is no harm in celebrating the Independence Day as a symbolic day that the country separated from its colonial masters. But, anyone who looks from the distance objectively sees there is a lot to be done before we can claim real independence. CDSL urge every Sri Lankan who are in abroad to help to reverse this situation by raising awareness of these dictatorial activities of the current regime without living in fool’s paradise.

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Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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