Organised elements continue to disrupt TISL activities

Saturday, 28 June 2014 00:25 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Alleged instructions from a Buddhist monk forces Global Towers to cancel TISL AGM
In a bizarre development, the management of Global Towers hotel in Wellawatte yesterday had ordered Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), the national chapter of the global movement against corruption, to cancel its Annual General Meeting a few hours prior to its start. TISL said the AGM was scheduled to be held at Global Towers where all arrangements had been made, including the full payment for the venue. However, TISL staff was informed by the management of Global Towers that they had received instructions from a Buddhist monk to halt all proceedings. Although TISL made several attempts to continue the meeting, the hotel management refused to allow the meeting to be held. TISL has lodged a complaint against this at the Wellawatte Police Station. During the last five weeks a number of TISL activities have been disrupted by these forces with the latest attempt being an order issued by an apparent unknown authority to halt the conduct of TISL’s Annual General Meeting and Members’ Night. This latest attack on the freedom of association comes less than a month into the attacks on two TISL workshops on investigative journalism where the participants were asked to vacate the venues while the program was being held. The matter, which has been referred to the IGP and even taken up in Parliament, is still under investigation. The conduct of the Annual General Meeting before the end of the financial year is a legal requirement according to the Companies Act under which TISL is registered. The disruption directly hinders TISL from carrying out its legal requirement as a credible, reputed and established company limited by guarantee in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, it grossly violates the fundamental right and the freedom of association protected by both the UN Charter and the Constitution of Sri Lanka, contributing to a fear psychosis in the hospitality industry on which the civil society sector is heavily dependent on. The occurrences of such attacks without just cause, and any form of remedial measures only highlights the volatile environment that civil society organisations operate in and the overarching power of certain invisible figures that dictates civic activism.