SRI LANKA: A new booklet – The Delgoda Family Massacre and Confronting Lawlessness

(Hong Kong, May 31, 2007)

On May 26, 2007 five persons belonging to the same family were chopped to death in their own home. According to reports the alleged cause of the multiple murders was a land dispute which had gone on for some time.

The following day, according to reports, a group of people arrived from outside the neighbourhood in a bus and burned three houses. The same day two suspects were arrested by the police and within a few hours they had been shot dead and their deaths were announced through electronic media to the whole nation. Within 24 hours of that event the magistrate of the area pronounced that the two deaths amounted to justifiable homicide in self defence.

Within the two weeks around this event there have been several murders of families in various parts of the country. In fact extra ordinary forms of crimes are taking place reflecting an extremely abnormal situation.

Following this incident the Asian Human Rights Commission issued a series of statements. In this booklet these and earlier statements and a letter written to the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission are included. In an open letter to the speaker of Parliament and the members of parliament the AHRC called for a parliamentary debate on the issue and for the development of a strategic plan on an urgent basis to deal with the issue of the lawlessness in an enlightened manner. The AHRC for the last ten years constantly pointed out that there is a situation of an exceptional collapse of the rule of law in the country which if not decisively addressed may lead to unimaginable peril for the whole country. We are publishing this booklet to contribute to a public debate, which is now imperative if there is to be a recovery.

Available at

Document Type : Press Release
Document ID : AHRC-PL-018-2007
Countries : Sri Lanka,