KT and The Commonwealth Equality Network are raising alarms about these threats with the UK government and the diplomatic community.
Annual Colombo PRIDE celebrations are held each year to bring together the LGBTIQ community in one safe space to celebrate their diversity in an environment free of discrimination and prejudice.
EQUAL GROUND, a non-profit organisation seeking human and political rights for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning community [hereinafter referred to as “LGBTIQ community”] of Sri Lanka has successfully organized LGBTIQ Pride through Colombo PRIDE events for over a decade. In fact, this year marks 12 years of PRIDE in Sri Lanka.
EQUAL GROUND wishes to draw your attention to some disturbing incidents that are threatening to derail progress towards ensuring equal rights for all persons regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Such incidents not only violate domestic laws, if left unaddressed will be tantamount to Sri Lanka failing to fulfil its international treaty obligations and thereby lower its standing in the eyes of the international community.
A politically motivated group known as “The Island Nation of Sinhale” (Lion’s Blood), notorious for spewing radical ideologies intended to sow hatred and incite discrimination, hostility and even violence against minorities has targeted Colombo PRIDE on Facebook and threatened to derail scheduled events. Articles on online news portals have also been published circulating derogatory and false information regarding the LGBTIQ community and EQUAL GROUND.
Please find attached hereto, images of the threats/article and their respective translations.
Furthermore, EQUAL GROUND has faced resistance from institutions such as the Colombo Municipal Council and Sri Lanka Police when attempting to obtain permission for events commemorating IDAHOT and Colombo PRIDE. The aforesaid institutions have not expressly refused permission but have resorted to delay tactics to unreasonably withhold approvals without providing any reasons for such delay.
Despite the obstacles EQUAL GROUND is faced with this year, we wish to state that that we will not be intimidated by bigoted radicals and or parochial definitions of sexual identity. EQUAL GROUND will proceed with the events planned for Colombo PRIDE 2016 and continue to fight for equal rights for every individual regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Rosanna Flamer-Caldera Executive Director EQUAL GROUND, Sri Lanka