Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared an economic emergency on 31 August to curb rising inflation following a sharp fall in the value of the country’s currency and a rise in food prices.
A soldier stationed in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka on Tuesday denied the United Nations Human Rights Commission’s allegation that the military could expand its role in civilian work. Also said that the aim of the government’s initiative is to ensure food security amid rising inflation. Giving details of Sri Lanka’s human rights situation in Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Monday expressed concern that an economic emergency has been declared in Sri Lanka amid the deepening economic crisis.
Michelle Bachelet said, a new state of emergency was declared in Sri Lanka on 30 August, aimed at controlling food security and prices in the midst of a deepening economic crisis. The rules of emergency are very detailed and may expand the role of the military in civilian work. Bachelet said that his office is monitoring the implementation of the new laws by the Sri Lankan government. Significantly, Sri Lanka is facing economic difficulties.
How did the Sri Lankan government react?
Responding to these statements, government spokesman and information minister Dulles Alahapperuma said, “There is no militarization. What the government did was just to amend two bye-laws in the emergency rules to ensure food security. Alahaperuma said the military will have a limited role in food security, while the defense forces have successfully conducted a vaccination program for the Covid-19 pandemic.
Why has the economic emergency been imposed?
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on August 31 declared an economic emergency to curb rising inflation following a sharp fall in the value of the country’s currency and a rise in food prices. The purpose of this action is to stop hoarding of essential commodities. The government has directed the officials to ensure the sale of essential commodities including rice and sugar at the prices guaranteed by the government. The government has appointed a former Sri Lankan army general as the Commissioner of Essential Services, who will have the authority to seize food stocks held by traders and retailers and regulate their prices.
Also read: US: New York hospital facing shortage of staff, refused to deliver pregnant women