The Law Society of England and Wales today added its voice to those calling for the suspension of Sri Lanka from the Councils of the Commonwealth, following reports of serious breaches of the rule of law and judicial independence.
It announced its support for the high-level international resolution at the 18th Commonwealth Law Conference in Cape Town, South Africa.
The resolution, which was ratified at the conference by the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA), the Commonwealth Legal Education Association (CLEA), and the Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association (CMJA), calls for resolute action against Sri Lanka following ‘repressive actions’.
The resolution includes:
a call upon the Members of the Commonwealth to place Sri Lanka on the agenda of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group meeting on 26 April 2013 and suspend it from the Councils of the Commonwealth; and
a plea for the Members of the Commonwealth to reconsider the holding of the next Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka.
The resolution follows reports of serious breaches of the rule of law and judicial independence in Sri Lanka, including the controversial impeachment by Parliament and removal from office of chief justice Bandaranayake in January 2013.
Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, said:
’The Law Society adds its voice to those calling for the suspension of Sri Lanka from the Councils of the Commonwealth. When our shared values, including those respecting human rights and the rule of law, are under threat, we must act resolutely and hold firm.
’We cannot sit back and watch as the independence of the Sri Lankan judiciary continues to be eroded. We cannot remain inactive as politicians fail to abide by court orders. We cannot look away as members of the legal profession face gross and persistent harassment.
‘We remain committed to supporting those who do uphold the rule of law in Sri Lanka.’