Take steps to protect dignity of the people – Paffrel asked speaker

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Dignity of the people is protected, only if the honour and the dignity of the Parliament and that of its Members are well and truly protected, says Paffrel organization.

The organization has sent a letter to the speaker of the parliament today and requested that to take steps to obtain from each Member, an affidavit affirming that he/she has no status of citizenship in another country (dual citizenship).

The letter of Paffrel organization,

November 13, 2017

Honourable Speaker,

Parliament of Sri Lanka

Sri Jayewardenapura

Kotte.

Honourable Sir,

Confirmation of Dual Citizenship of the Members of Parliament

As you are well aware, Sir, in terms of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, it is now law in Sri Lanka, that a person with citizenship in two countries  – holding dual citizenship – can not become a Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament. Resultantly, the former Member of Parliament Geetha Kumarasinghe lost her status as a Member of Parliament, due to confirmation of her dual citizenship in a local court of law.

Sri Lanka’s Parliament is a unique institution, which formulates legislation and enacts policies for the citizens, while also handling the affairs of the country’s fiscal management.  Under such circumstances, if persons holding dual citizenship sit in Parliament as members, it is doubtful, whether they would be wholeheartedly concerned with the wellbeing of the people of Sri Lanka, due to their dual interests.  Also, whether they would act in the best national interest of Sri Lanka, or whether they would represent the other country of their citizenship in a decisive situation, is a matter of high importance for our country and the people.

As a mater of fact, why they have opted for the citizenship of another country is, either because they underestimated the quality and the value of their motherland, or because they trusted that the other country would help them more and better to fulfill their personal aspirations in life. In addition, the probability exists as well, for them to quit this country unhesitatingly at any moment of their choice, and when it suits them. There are many past instances to quote. We, therefore, wish to emphasise that the court ruling regarding Geetha Kumarasinghe, makes an indelible turning point in the annals of Sri Lankan politics.

In the more recent past, within the Parliament, as well as among the general public outside, an extensive dialogue was created focusing on the question of Members of Parliament holding dual citizenship. It reached a climax, when various kinds of defensive statistics and stories were brought out relating to such members. Having carefully noted the high degree of negative public impact caused through the socialization process of such arguments, we, the PAFFREL, as a responsible monitoring organization, decided to discover the true situation regarding this matter..

At the outset, we enquired the Controller of Immigration and Emigration about the Members of Parliament holding dual citizenship. We were told that excepting for Mrs. Geetha Kumarasinghe, to no other Member of the present Parliament, Dual Citizenship Certificates have been issued by that Department. By all means, we believe that such information does not reveal for certainty or with clarity, about those who have not divulged information relating to their status of dual citizenship.

By now, especially after the Geetha Kumarasinghe episode,  a large scale social discussion and equally serious suspicions have emerged among the public about this all important issue. If, by any chance, the people’s representatives in Parliament  do not reveal the true situation as regards their dual citizenship status, it is nothing, but a huge fraudulent act committed on the people of this country and more so on the dignity of the Parliament.  They, who are the legislators are ignoring the very legislation, they were responsible to formulate.

Therefore, in order to dispel this social suspicion and to protect the honour and dignity of all Members of the Parliament, we are pleased to kindly request Your Honour to take steps to obtain from each Member, an affidavit affirming that he/she has no status of citizenship in another country (dual citizenship).

Needless to say that the dignity of the people is protected, only if the honour and the dignity of the Parliament and that of its Members are well and truly protected. We, therefore, have utmost trust and confidence that Your Honour will pay special attention to our request, made in the interest of all law abiding citizens and the most respected Parliament of our country.

Thanking you in anticipation,

Yours truly

RohanaHettiarachchi