Association

While people in Sri Lanka are able to form and join associations, the legal framework is still in need of reform. Restrictive legislation introduced by the Rajapaksa administration in order to control the NGO sector is yet to be repealed. According to the Voluntary Social Service Organisations Act, NGOs must register with the NGO Secretariat, which previously functioned under the Ministry of Defence but has since been moved to the Ministry of National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages. Since 2015, human rights defenders are able to operate more freely under the new government; however, civil society organisations continue to face difficulties when working in the northern and eastern areas of the country. Of particular concern are continued 'White van disappearances', or enforced disappearances, perpetrated by the state which became synonymous with post-war Sri Lanka.