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State of emergency will not solve Sri Lanka’s difficulties, say heads of foreign missions in Colombo

Sri Lankans remain gravely concerned after the declaration of a state of emergency by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (Image courtesy: Twitter/@LankadeepaNews)

Several foreign missions and their representatives in Colombo have expressed their growing concern over the political crisis gripping Sri Lanka currently as country's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency, earlier today.

The US said on Saturday that it remains concerned by another state of emergency in Sri Lanka.

"The voices of peaceful citizens need to be heard. And the very real challenges Sri Lankans are facing require long term solutions to set the country back on a path toward prosperity and opportunity for all. The SOE won't help do that," tweeted Julie Chung, the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka today.

The Ambassador had earlier in the week stated that freedom to engage in peaceful protest without fear of arrest is fundamental to democracy as the US urged restraint on all sides and reiterated its support for the rights of peaceful protesters. 

The European Union representative in Colombo also voiced the US Ambassador's concerns.

"A month of peaceful demonstrations has shown how Sri Lankan citizens fully enjoy their right to freedom of expression in the oldest democracy in South Asia. State of emergency will certainly not help solving the country's difficulties and could have a counter productive effect!" tweeted EU in Sri Lanka.

Commenting on the state of emergency in the island nation, the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka said that a democratic and peaceful approach is essential to resolving the current challenges.

"Rights to peaceful protest and freedom of expression must be respected alongside all fundamental rights. Emergency laws restricting those rights work against democratic dialogue & solutions," tweeted Sarah Hulton, the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka.

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) also said today that it remains "gravely concerned" after the declaration of a state of emergency by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa with effect from midnight.

"As was stated earlier on April 2, when the President declared a State of Emergency for a brief period of time, the BASL remains of the view that a declaration of a state of emergency is NOT the answer to the present situation in the country including the spate of public protests and strikes which have occurred," the association said in a statement.

"These protests reflect the desperate situation of the people who are seeking to secure for themselves, and their families some of the most basic essentials in life. Similarly, the declaration of the State of Emergency will further complicate the efforts at restoring political stability in Sri Lanka," it added.

Also Read: Sri Lankan Bar Association decries imposition of emergency, says 'stifling protest no solution'