UN special rapporteur for freedom of association Clément Nyaletsossi Voule says that they are very concerned by the declaration of high security zones (HSZs) in Colombo as areas prohibiting public gatherings.

He says in social media that Sri Lankan authorities must respect people’s rights to protest and ensure any restrictions, including these, are justified, necessary and proportionate.

Earlier, minister of foreign affairs Ali Sabry has told the United Nations General Assembly that Sri Lanka unconditionally recognized the fundamental right to freedom of expression as sacrosanct.

However, it must also be appreciated that this freedom must be within the constitutional order, and must be exercised having regard to one’s fundamental duty to express oneself within the confines of the law, he said.

Also, defence secretary Kamal Gunaratne said HSZs were declared to end “anarchic and confused situation.”

In protest against the declaration, lawyers took to the streets 24 hours later on September 27 and demanded that the freedom of expression and assembly are ensured.

 

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