Management of the Global Tower Hotel in Welwatta last friday (27th) ordered Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), the national chapter of the Global Movement against Corruption to cancel its Annual General Meeting few hours prior to commencement of the meeting.
The AGM was scheduled to be held at the Global Towers where all arrangements had been made, including the full payment to the venue. However, TISL staff was informed by the management of the Global Towers that they have received instructions from a Buddhist monk to halt all proceedings. Although TISL made several attempts to continue the meeting hotel management refused to allow the meeting to be held. TISL has lodged complaint against this at the Wellawatta Police station.
During the last five weeks a number of TISL activities were disrupted by these forces with latest attempt being an order issued by an apparent unknown authority to halt the conduct of TISL’s Annual General Meeting and Member’s 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 Company’s 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 among the hospitality industry on which the civil society sector is heavily depended on. The occurrences of such attacks without a just cause and any form of remedial measures only highlights the volatile environment that civil society organizations operate in and the overarching power of certain invisible figures that dictates civic activism.