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To: His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka
Stop Brutal Repression of Trade Union Activist In Sri Lanka
Academics, Civil Society Organizations and Trade Unions are campaigning against the Sri Lankan governments move to militarize tertiary education in Sri Lanka. The government has introduced a bill to repeal the Universities act No 16 of 1978 by the Kotelawala Defense University Act. There is public anger brewing against the government's action. Trade unions are protesting and voicing the concerns of the public to protect the universal education system that helps social mobility upward for the marginalized. Authorities are trying to repress the activist by forcibly arresting suppressing them.
We call upon the President to immediately stop the repression and respect the freedom of expression in a democratically functioning republic.
Why is this important?
The implementation of the Kotelawala Defense University Act aims to end free education to militarize tertiary education with commercial orientations.
Therefore, trade unions, civil society organizations, student movements and the public are engaged in a fierce struggle against the bill and for the rights of teachers and principals. The government uses police to arrest, intimidate, and physically torture the leaders of trade unions and organizations fighting to suppress these protests and demonstrations.
The trade unions and civil society organizations are engaged in a relentless protest campaign to defeat the government's anti-people efforts. The government does not seem to be trying to understand the people's opposition to this. Instead, the government is implementing a plan through the police to imprison its frontline leaders to suppress the protests. Ceylon Bank Employees' Union and member unions of UNI Sri Lanka Affiliates Council and Public Resources and Human Rights Protection Centre (PRHRPC) call to release all the trade union leaders without harassing them further.