Peace in Kurdistan Campaign strongly condemns the arrest of 31 activists, including the General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers Union, by Sri Lankan police forces on 08 July 2021. The arrests came during a lawful, democratic protest of teachers and students protesting against a new parliamentary bill that furthers the militarisation of higher education in Sri Lanka. Even after being granted bail, approximately 15 people, including the General Secretary, continue to be detained in a military camp on the grounds of COVID quarantining measures.
These arrests and detentions represent the escalating repression of speech, assembly and political challenges against the actions of the government in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan state has a well-known record of using anti-terrorism legislation as a pretext for criminalising and perpetuating genocide against the Tamil people, acts which remain ongoing today. The arrests signify the deployment of this approach towards Sri Lankan society as a whole, through the expanding militarisation of society and the criminalisation of dissent, which now includes attacks on students, educators, and trade unions. This is precisely what those who have been detained were arrested for protesting against.
The pattern of criminalising populations of people is one we see repeated around the world with increasing frequency, at the cost of eliminating the space for democracy, and making atrocities inevitable. Peace in Kurdistan demands the immediate release of those who have been detained, and stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka, and all those resisting militarism and seeking democracy and the freedom of political dissent.
12 July 2021
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Contacts Estella Schmid: 07846 666 804 & Melanie Gingell: 07572 430903