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Sri Lanka

Monthly Event Reports

January 2024 | Parliament approves controversial Online Safety Bill

On 24 January, Parliament passed the Online Safety Bill (OSB), which seeks to combat false online statements through a commission with extensive powers. These include ordering individuals and internet service providers to remove online content deemed “prohibited statements,” further enabling legal recourse against people who publish such content. Human rights groups, industry experts and civil society organizations have called for the bill to be withdrawn, criticizing its vaguely worded definitions of offences that may be misused to silence critical voices online. Moreover, concerns have also been raised regarding the five-member commission’s lack of independence from the executive. The United Nations Human Rights Office also expressed opposition to the bill in October 2023. Civil society organizations note that the bill was passed in a rushed manner with limited consultations that left numerous of their concerns unaddressed.

November 2023 | Supreme Court finds former top officials guilty of economic crisis in symbolic ruling
Watch flag

On 14 November, Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling holding former top officials, including ex-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brother Mahinda, responsible for violating the fundamental rights of Sri Lanka's people by mishandling the country’s economic crisis that began in 2022. The verdict is largely symbolic and carries no penalties aside from an order to pay the petitioners’ legal fees. The case was lodged by Transparency International Sri Lanka and other rights activists. Bhavani Fonseka from the Center for Policy Alternatives noted that the ruling marks an "important step in addressing impunity and implicating the key actors involved, [who] continue to enjoy impunity in Sri Lanka," while acknowledging that "what happens after this is going to be critical - whether the state attorney general's department will initiate criminal proceedings is yet to be seen."

July 2023 | Parliament approves new anti-corruption law

Sri Lanka’s parliament approved a long-awaited anti-corruption bill on 20 July as part of the prerequisites of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package, approved in March. The bill increases the powers and resources allocated to the Bribery and Corruption Commission, tasked with investigating bribery and corruption charges and offences among private and public sector officials. The law also mandates electoral candidates to declare their assets and liabilities, which would be made public ahead of elections, as well as provides protection for whistleblowers. Civil society organizations and rights experts have welcomed the law, with Transparency International adding that "A lot of it will depend on enforcement of the law, whether law enforcement authorities will be empowered to be free of political interference and also not have to self-censor, to act without fear or favour during investigations."

May 2023 | Sri Lanka takes steps toward decriminalizing homosexuality

The Supreme Court ruled on 9 May that a bill seeking to decriminalize homosexuality is not unconstitutional, clearing the pathway for parliament to discuss and vote on reforming the law. The decision marks a significant milestone for LGBTQIA+ rights in the country, with campaigners hopeful that it will provide an opportunity for long-awaited reform. The bill, introduced in April, aims to make the sexual conduct between two consenting adults of the same sex a non-punishable offence.

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GSoD Indices Data 2013-2022

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Basic Information

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Population Tooltip
22 156 000
System of government
Presidential system
Head of government
Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena (since 2022)
Head of government party
United National Party
Electoral system for lower or single chamber
List Proportional Representation
Women in lower or single chamber
5.3%
Women in upper chamber
Not applicable
Last legislative election
2020
Effective number of political parties Tooltip
2.44
Head of state
President Ranil Wickremesinghe
Selection process for head of state
Direct election (alternative vote)
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) date
15/11/2017
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) percentage of recommendations supported
76.96%
Population Tooltip
22 156 000
System of government
Presidential system
Head of government
Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena (since 2022)
Head of government party
United National Party
Electoral system for lower or single chamber
List Proportional Representation
Women in lower or single chamber
5.3%
Women in upper chamber
Not applicable
Last legislative election
2020
Effective number of political parties Tooltip
2.44
Head of state
President Ranil Wickremesinghe
Selection process for head of state
Direct election (alternative vote)
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) date
15/11/2017
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) percentage of recommendations supported
76.96%
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Human Rights Treaties

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State Party State party
Signatory Signatory
No Action No action
United Nations Human Right Treaties
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
State Party
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
State Party
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
State Party
Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
State Party
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment
State Party
Convention on the Rights of the Child
State Party
International Convention on Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
State Party
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance 
State Party
International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
State Party
International Labour Organisation Treaties
Forced Labour Convention
State Party
Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention
State Party
Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention
State Party
Equal Remuneration Convention
State Party
Abolition of Forced Labour Convention
State Party
Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention
State Party
Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment
State Party
Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention
State Party
in
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Categories of Democratic Performance

Representation neutral Representation
Sep 2023
Oct
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb 2024
Representation neutral Rights
Sep 2023
Oct
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb 2024
Representation neutral Rule of law
Sep 2023
Oct
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb 2024
Representation neutral Participation
Sep 2023
Oct
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb 2024

Global State of Democracy Indices

Hover over the trend lines to see the exact data points across the years

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Representation
Representation
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Rights
Rights
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Rule of Law
Rule of Law
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Participation
Participation
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Annual value

Factors of Democratic Performance Over Time

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