Civil Society group’s concern: Decline of ‘Rule of Law’

By Susitha R. Fernando (DM 16th  Oct)
A large number of people representing civil society groups, intellectuals and trade union activists gathered yesterday at New Town Hall, Colombo 7 to express their concern on the decline of the law and order situation and the grenade attack on Attorney-at-law J. C. Weliamuna.

“Citizen collective to promote the Rule of Law”, a collective of a large number of independent organizations held a rally and screened documentary films that reflected that the country’s Rule of Law has come under threat.

Addressing the gathering representatives of different organizations, journalist associations and independent intellectuals expressed the importance of making the civil society strong.

Among the speakers were Jehan Perera, Executive Director of National Peace Council, Prof. Jayantha Seneviratne, Dr. Kumara Guruparan, of the Western People’s Front, Leenus Jayathilake of the United Workers Association, Sanath Balasuriya, President of the Working Journalists Association, Brito Fernando, Human Rights organization and the Attorney J. C. Weliamuna.

Addressing the packed audience, Prof. Jayantha Seneviratne said the positive outcome of the attack on Weliamuna was that it has given an opportunity to create a united civil society alliance, which is a need of the hour.

“The concept of state has changed to government and the ruling government has taken over all the powers of the state. And it thinks that the active civil society is a threat to its existence,” Prof. Seneviratne said.

Referring to the on going war, he said that it was not only the Tamils that have been affected by the war but the Sinhala society as well.

Dr. Kumara Guruparan stated that J. C. Weliamuna did not appear for robberers and murders but for human rights and for good governance.

Today it has come to a position where the Supreme Court has taken up to promote of good governance, he said.

J. C. Weliamuna in his speech said  that the lawyers who take up sensitive cases had to think twice before appearing for them.

“These types of cases specially relating to human right violations are usually against either Executive or the Legislature and if the lawyers are being threatened with bomb attacks it is a dangerous situation,” Weliamuna said.