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SL Civil Society groups withdraw from OGP over repressive laws targeting civic space

Civil society organizations (CSOs) engaged in the co-creation of third National Action Plan have collectively decided to withdraw from the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Sri Lanka to express their opposition to the recent actions of the Government, specifically the purported passage of the Online Safety Act and attempts to introduce a draconian anti-terrorism law despite widespread public resistance. CSOs are concerned that these actions of the Government are aimed at suppressing the civic space and fundamental freedoms of the people, and therefore clearly contradict the fundamental principles of the OGP.

As the co-convenors of the CSOs in the OGP process in Sri Lanka, Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) and Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, we wrote to the President today to officially inform him of this collective decision.

The full letter to the President is attached herewith (in English, Sinhala, and Tamil).

Background information:

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving government transparency, ensuring opportunities for citizen participation in public matters, and strengthening mechanisms for public accountability.

More than 70 countries, a growing number of local governments and thousands of civil society organizations are members of OGP. Under the OGP, all participating countries are required to develop a two-year National Action Plan through a multi-stakeholder process to implement governance initiatives in prioritized sectors in collaboration with civil society.

Since 2015, Sri Lanka has been internationally committed through its membership in the OGP. Since then, two National Action Plans have been prepared, but the implementation faced various challenges.

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