September 6, 2021

Hon. Dullas Alahapperuma

Minister of Mass Media,

No. 163, Asi Disi Medura, (Ministry of Mass Media)

Kirulapone Mawatha, Polhengoda,

Colombo 05

Hon. G.L. Peiris,

Minister of Foreign Affairs,

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Republic Building,

Sir Baron Jayatilake Mawatha,

Colombo 01.

Dear Ministers,

Providing relief to Afghanistan journalists seeking asylum

We, as the Media Organizations Collective in Sri Lanka, has been paying close attention to the serious and dangerous developments facing fellow Afghanistan journalists at this time. Many of them are in grave danger and their lives are at risk at the hands of the Taliban regime. We believe that you are aware of this critical situation.

According to reports, several countries have provided opportunities to seek asylum in their countries for threatened Afghanistan journalists in order to protect their lives, further demonstrating a great responsibility in practice and a commitment to democracy.

Demonstrating great responsibility in practice and a commitment to democracy at present, several countries have reportedly provided opportunities for threatened Afghan journalists to seek asylum and protect their lives.

Sri Lanka has also provided access and protection to asylum seekers for several years. Accordingly, we respectfully note that out of the nearly 80 million people in the world who sought refuge last season, 1300, including 170 Afghans, have received the protection of the Government and people of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has reached this great endeavour based on the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Government with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2005 and the Terms of Reference guidelines agreed in 2006. These agreements were reached during the tenure of Mahinda Rajapaksa as President. Accordingly, the Government of Sri Lanka already has a practical structure and vision for dealing with refugees.

At the moment, several media professionals, including women journalists who could end up as victims of barbarism and may have to pay with their lives, are preparing to leave the country in search of the safety and protection of their lives. Accordingly, Sri Lanka has an honourable opportunity to act under the agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in collaboration with other countries in the region. There is an opportunity for this to be accomplished following the due health and quarantine methods followed by foreign tourist groups and sports teams when arriving in this country.

The South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN), affiliated with the International Federation of Journalists, has also issued a statement seeking the intervention of SAARC countries. (Statement attached.)

This is also a great opportunity to demonstrate South Asian regional cooperation and to show the world community that our country is committed to human rights and the safety of refugees. We hope that the Government of Sri Lanka will respond positively in this regard and we as media organizations in Sri Lanka, offer our fullest cooperation to the Government of Sri Lanka if appropriate action is taken in this situation.


Dharmasiri Lankapeli,


Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Union



Seetha Ranjanee,


Free Media Movement

Duminda Sampath ,


Sri Lanka Working Journalists’ Association

N.M. Ameen,


Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum

Kanapathipillai Sarvananda


Tamil Media Alliance

Indunil Usgoda Arachchi,


Sri Lanka Young Journalists’ Association.



On behalf of the Media Organizations Collective