A group of lawyers have expressed concern over the failure of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka to raise its voice against the human rights violations in the country.
In the latest incident, an Executive member of the BASL and its Kandy Zonal Vice President, complained that the unanimous decision to issue a statement expressing deep concern at the wide spread disappearances, abductions and extra judicial killings was not put into action even after two months. Attorney- Lal Wijenayake who made the proposal said `It is unfortunate that BASL officials who were entrusted with the task of issuing the statement expressing deep concern over the development posing a challenge to the rule of law, the democratic system and human rights and calling upon the authorities concerned to take a meaningful steps to prevent the trend, had failed to even issue the statement`.
He said all that was despite constant reminders to the Secretary.
`As lawyers we are deeply concerned that the Bar Association which should not only be concerned about the professional rights of its members but also about upholding the rule of law and the democratic rights of the people had not got the courage and commitment to perform its duty towards the people of our country,` the group said in a statement.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror the group of disappointed lawyers said if the Association, the sole body representing the country`s legal practitioners was not heeding to their request they would have to turn to another independent forum to stand against the unfortunate developments, also claiming that a majority of lawyers held the same view.
They said as a professional body it was their responsibility to stand against escalating human rights violations.
They also said in recent times nearly forty people believed to be underworld characters were allegedly killed by the police.
`They may be underworld members but still they have a right to go through a process of justice and the police taking law into their hands is a serious situation. Now it is the underworld characters, then there would be the `Sinhala Koti` and thereafter it could be anybody.`
They also expressed concern over the recent attacks on the media, media personnel and those who expressed views that highlighted the government`s shortcomings.