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Surveillance of Mr Upul Jayasuriya

Surveillance of Mr Upul Jayasuriya

The New Zealand Bar Association joins the International Bar Association (IBA) and other Law Societies and Bar Associations worldwide over the reported surveillance of Mr Upul Jayasuriya, President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

The New Zealand Bar Association is a member of the IBA and supports the global legal community’s efforts to promote and protect human rights and the independence of the legal profession worldwide. It is aware that the IBA has in the past raised concerns relating to the independence of the legal profession and the rule of law in Sri Lanka.

It is understood from information received from the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute that Mr Jayasuriya has officially reported incidents of surveillance on at least two occasions. The New Zealand Bar Association is concerned that these incidents are an attempt to intimidate Mr Jayasuriya following certain public statements issued by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

Principle 23 of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers states that lawyers have the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice, and the promotion of human rights. Principle 16 stipulates that ‘Governments shall ensure that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.’

In view of the above the New Zealand Bar Association notes its serious concern about this situation and urges the authorities to take all necessary steps to protect the right to freedom of expression in Sri Lanka, for the Bar Association of Sri Lanka and generally.


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