For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
The attention of Networking for Rights is drawn to a media release by the National Peace Council (NPC) which states that it is being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department. NfR expresses its serious concern over the way this investigation is being handled.
It is disconcerting that an Organization which conducts its activities in protecting and promoting human rights in Sri Lanka in a non-partisan manner is being investigated by the CID, though no criminal charges seemed to have been laid against it. Furthermore, according to the Media Release, the CID seeks to investigate the Councils sources of funding, its partners and its activities. Although the right to association is guaranteed by constitution of Sri Lanka this fundamental right has come under relentless assault by various status apparatus in recent times.
NPC states that the CID investigation was preceded by critical reports in both state and private media on the Council. It is noteworthy that Organisations and individuals against whom attacks or assaults have been carried out have been similarly targeted on previous occasions. As stated by the NPC, the Council’s affairs have been submitted to the NGO Secretariat under whose purview the Councils activities fall. Its website too carries all relevant information regarding its funders, annual reports and activities. As there seems to be no evidence or allegation of a criminal nature, if an investigation is required then it should be handled by a civil body.