TRG aims to establish a civil liberties union in partnership and consultation with advocates and legal professionals in Sri Lanka. This nation-wide, non-partisan organisation will uphold and protect the rule of law, seek ethnic justice, challenge existing laws and constitutional principles which are discriminatory towards Eelam Tamils and minority communities, and prevent the abuse and misuse of power of the government, military, and police. The union would especially focus on areas of land rights, human rights and fundamental rights, rights of vulnerable groups such as women, children, and LGBTQI persons, disability rights, caste oppression, property disputes, archaeology, and abuse of power.
The post-colonial history of Sri Lanka is one that is marred with systemic genocide against Eelam Tamils, systemic discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities, suppression, and silencing of dissent of any kind, curtailing of media freedoms, extra-judicial killings, and kidnappings such as the “white-van” incidents, unlawful arrests and detention, torture, and manipulation of the constitution and the judiciary to serve the interests of those in power. Since the current government assumed power, the space for civil society activism is shrinking rapidly, intimidation of journalists and other activists have increased, and militarisation and police brutality have escalated.
It is thus imperative that such a civil liberties union is created to proactively champion and defend the protection of rights of people, especially those of the Eelam Tamil community who have struggled for the protection of their rights for decades and promote fairness and equity by working towards structural and constitutional change. The union would also educate the public on their legal and constitutional rights, and thus hold the government, military and police accountable for their actions.
This civil liberties union would provide the opportunity for the public to readily obtain the legal support they need to defend their rights and achieve justice. The union would also function as civic space for communities to engage in discourse, act, and achieve political solutions.