The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), as the principal political opposition in Sri Lanka, views recent developments in Afghanistan with great concern.
The SJB calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to immediately take all measures necessary to secure Sri Lanka’s national interests in Afghanistan. Such measures include protecting the lives and property of Sri Lankan nationals working in Afghanistan, and ensuring the security of our Embassy and its staff.
Since Afghanistan is a fellow member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the SJB additionally calls upon the Secretary General of SAARC to use his good offices to ensure the safety and security of SAARC nationals during this time.
The SJB wishes to remind the Sri Lankan government of its international obligations during a crisis of this nature. It specifically calls upon the government to respect the obligation of non-refoulement, which forbids a country from returning asylum seekers to a country in which they would be in likely danger of persecution. In this context, the government has a specific obligation to respect the rights of Afghan asylum seekers who are either currently residing in Sri Lanka, or may enter Sri Lanka in the future. Specific attention must be paid to the rights of women and children, as they are particularly vulnerable during political crises of this nature.
The SJB expresses its solidarity with the people of Afghanistan. It calls upon the Taliban regime to respect human rights, and ensure an early restoration of democratic governance based on the consent of the people.