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[Media Lines] Sri Lanka: Condemn those aiding president Gotabaya Rajapaksa evade accountability

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In response to the declaration of a state of emergency in Sri Lanka following President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s escape to the Maldives, Omer Dawoodjee, FORUM-ASIA Interim Executive Director said:

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to flee the country amidst the ongoing crisis is clearly an attempt to escape accountability for grave crimes he is credibly implicated in including war crimes and corruption.

Actions of those who are aiding President Rajapaksa evade justice by providing sanctuary amount to betrayal of the struggles for justice by the people of Sri Lanka.

In particular, we condemn the authorities of the Maldives for aiding Gotabaya Rajapaksa to escape justice by providing him with safe passage and harbour. The Maldives has a special responsibility to stand in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka at this unprecedented time, especially as the people of Sri Lanka had sheltered Maldivian activists and human rights defenders, which played an important role in Maldives’ democratic transition.

The pervasive impunity and persistent violations of human rights and principles of rule of law lie at the root of the current crisis, and Gotabaya Rajapaksa should be held accountable for crimes he is accused of. The international community, especially Sri Lanka’s neighbouring countries, should assist and stand in solidarity with people of Sri Lanka in their struggle for justice and democracy.  


The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) is a network of 85 member organisations across 23 countries, mainly in Asia. Founded in 1991, FORUM-ASIA works to strengthen movements for human rights and sustainable development through research, advocacy, capacity development and solidarity actions in Asia and beyond. It has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and consultative relationship with the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights. The FORUM-ASIA Secretariat is based in Bangkok, with offices in Jakarta, Geneva and Kathmandu.

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