CSOs withdraw from Open Government Partnership in protest over oppressive laws targeting civic space
COLOMBO – 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 (OSA) and attempts to introduce a draconian anti-terrorism law despite widespread public resistance.
In a letter officially informing President Ranil Wickremesinghe of the collective decision on Thursday (6), co-convenors of the CSOs in the OGP process in Sri Lanka, Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) and Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement expressed their concerns about the government actions being aimed at suppressing the civic space and fundamental freedoms of the people, clearly contradicting the fundamental principles of the OGP.
The letter to the president in full:
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.