In addition to his constitutional duty to safeguard these institutions, the President received a clear mandate from the people which underscored this responsibility when he was elected in 2015. Local civil society members have written to President Maithripala Sirisena raising concerns over a statement he had made recently with regards to the Constitutional Council (CC) and the Human Rights Commission (HRCSL).Over 100 individuals and just over 15 civil society organizations had signed the letter saying they were dismayed and alarmed by the recent statements made by the President, including in Parliament (6th February, 2019), pertaining to the Constitutional Council and the Human Rights Commission. The Constitutional Council and the Human Rights Commission are among two institutions, whose strengthening and safeguarding of independence were key demands of the civil society in 2015. Th statement has been sent to the President and Cc’d to the Speaker and the HRCSL. (Colombo Gazette) “Working towards delivering on these promises through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution during the early days of his Presidency, still remains as his key achievement. This makes his current statements all the more appalling. We therefore demand that an enabling environment and required support be provided to independent commissions like the HRCSL to perform their duties,” the civil society organizations and individuals said.They said that they believe that the President is duty bound to support and respect the independence of such institutions, and to not undermine them.

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