The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) today  urged the government to immediately rescind the relevant Gazette notification to appoint a Presidential Task Force mandated to implement the ‘One Country, One Law’ concept, chaired by Ven.Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera.

Issuing a statement the CPA stated that it was deeply shocked and disturbed by the appointment of the latest Presidential Task Force mandated to implement the ‘One Country, One Law’ concept, including the drafting of a law to give effect to it, headed by Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero.

The CPA stated appointment of the Task Force at a time of unprecedented economic hardships and unravelling of government policies raises a plethora of questions including the compounding of a culture of governance by task forces, the promotion of divisive Buddhist clergy linked to incitement of violence and attacks against religious minorities; all of which entrench impunity.

The CPA further notes that the phrase ‘One Country, One Law’ – widely deployed in the run up to and during the 2019 Presidential election, has a very specific majoritarian connotation, and is by no means an expression of a desire for equality or the equal protection under the law.

The CPA observed that there are many aspects of the Sri Lankan legal system including aspects of personal laws, which do not meet the human rights standards guaranteed in Sri Lanka’s constitution or Sri Lanka’s international obligations.

“A serious attempt to bring these laws in line with these human rights obligations would require a genuinely representative and consultative process led by persons with the integrity and capacity to do so. This task force is the antithesis of such a genuine and inclusive approach and CPA calls on the government to immediately rescind the relevant Gazette notification,” the CPA added.


The CPA further noted that Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero is an unapologetic champion of ethno-nationalist rhetoric and hate speech against the Muslim community in particular, with no known action taken to independently investigate or hold him to account.

“Moreover, the Thero was convicted for contempt court for his unruly behaviour in the Homagama Magistrate Court when he intimidated the Magistrate and insulted a State Counsel, a sign of his complete disregard for the rule of law in Sri Lanka. In another blow to the rule of law, the Thero was granted a Presidential Pardon in 2019, a move challenged by CPA in the Supreme Court.

We reiterate our belief that providing any space for such a figure is a blatant mockery of basic decency in governance and a clear indicator of a very divisive public policy agenda. He is totally unsuited to perform any role in governance, let alone law reform in Sri Lanka. Thus, the present move must be democratically countered,” the CPA further stated.


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