The National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) headed by former speaker Karu Jayasuriya has informed the Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms of its stance on the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill (ATB).
Issuing a statement today (13), NMSJ general secretary Sunil Jayasekara said that their proposals regarding the proposed ATB have been forwarded in writing to the Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms, President's Counsel, Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.
The relevant proposals have been made in addition to the explanations made by a group of representatives from the NMSJ and several other civil organisations during a recent meeting with the Minister.
In its proposals, the NMSJ has pointed out that 'terrorism' should be clearly defined and related provisions should be made when passing such a Bill. It should not create restrictions on the fundamental and civil rights of speech, organisation, and assembly as guaranteed by the Constitution.
The NMSJ has also pointed out that it is essential to fully guarantee the responsibility of the Judiciary regarding detentions related to an allegation of being involved in a certain act of terrorism.
In addition, the ATB allows the Executive (President) to ban organisations, declare places as "prohibited places", etc., which can currently only be done by imposing emergency regulations under the Public Security Ordinance. The NMSJ's proposal is to remove that section and make such actions subject to the checks and balances of Parliament under emergency regulations.
The NMSJ's delegation also informed of its position regarding this matter during the discussion held with Dr. Rajapakshe.
The NMSJ has raised three basic points. The Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act currently in force should be repealed.
The NMSJ also acknowledges the need to impose new anti-terrorism laws, taking into account the terrorist challenges that the entire world is currently facing, thereby placing national security first. Towards that end, it noted that some aspects of the proposed ATB should be amended and in doing so, the views of all related parties should be taken into consideration.