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Controversial Appointment Sparks Outcry: Sri Lankan Collective Against Torture Denounces New Inspector General of Police

In a scathing media statement released today, the Sri Lankan Collective Against Torture has vehemently condemned the appointment of Mr. Deshbandu Tennakoon as the Inspector General of Police. The collective, a coalition of human rights organizations, strongly objects to the decision made by the President, expressing deep concern over what they perceive as a grave setback to democratic principles and the rule of law in Sri Lanka.

Mr. Tennakoon’s appointment is particularly contentious due to the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka’s previous finding that he violated a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution – the protection against torture (SC FR 107/2011). Despite this, the President proceeded with the appointment, sparking outrage from public representatives, civil society organizations, and recognized professionals.

The Sri Lankan Collective Against Torture outlines several troubling aspects of the appointment process, asserting that it undermines democratic values. Firstly, objections raised by various groups after Mr. Tennakoon assumed the role of Acting Inspector General of Police were reportedly ignored. Secondly, the collective criticizes the decision to disregard the Supreme Court’s judgment against Mr. Tennakoon, highlighting the seriousness of the violation of fundamental rights.

Moreover, concerns have been raised about the transparency of the Constitutional Council’s decision-making process, casting doubt on the integrity of both the process and the Council itself. The collective underscores the need for accountability, particularly in the context of a public official found guilty of violating fundamental rights.

The media statement emphasizes that the appointment of an individual with a Supreme Court-determined history of violating fundamental rights is contrary to the principles of the Constitution and undermines the sovereignty vested in the people of Sri Lanka. The Supreme Court’s directive for compensation to be paid from personal funds and the recommendation for disciplinary action against implicated officials further emphasize the gravity of the situation.

The Sri Lankan Collective Against Torture calls on all political parties, members of parliament, and stakeholders to take immediate action to rectify this controversial appointment. Expressing deep concern over the potential erosion of public confidence in the rule of law and democratic institutions, the collective urges swift and decisive measures to address the issues surrounding Mr. Tennakoon’s appointment as Inspector General of Police.

Read the full statement here

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