Thursday, August 25, 2011

President announces lifting of emergency

Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:57-Sri Lanka Mirror

President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced today (Aug. 25) that the state of emergency has been lifted.

In a special speech in Parliament, the president said he had continued with the emergency rule only for curbing terrorism.

Since the normal law can ensure the country’s administration, he said he was submitting to the House a proposal for lifting the emergency.
Noting that newspapers were banned and a media censorship was in force before 2005 under the emergency laws, Mr. Rajapaksa said his government never censured the media.
He went onto say that emergency laws helped eliminate terrorism during June 2006 to May 2009.

Thereafter, the laws were used to restore civilian life and for rehabilitation and resettlement activities.

The president said that except for 8,000 people, all the 300,000 displaced have now returned to their home villages, adding that such an achievement was a victory by his government.

Except for the myth of ‘grease devils’, no terrorist act had taken place since the end of terrorism in 2009, and the time has come for the complete lifting of the emergency, he said.

After the president completed his speech, opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe commended the government for removing the state of emergency, describing it as the first step towards the restoration of democracy.

Many more laws have to be enforced to ensure democracy, he said.

He also called for unity between the ruling and opposition parties to resolve the country’s problems.

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