Sri Lanka Mandates Military Approval of All Marriages between Sri Lankan Nationals and Foreigners

Sri Lanka Mandates Military Approval of All Marriages between Sri Lankan Nationals and Foreigners
Tamil Guardian, 2021

13-01-2022

Sarah Thanawala

Sri Lanka and Human Rights Researcher, 

Global Human Rights Defence.

In accordance with the law coming into effect on 1 January 2022, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence has declared that all foreign nationals who seek to marry a Sri Lankan national are mandated to obtain a “Security Clearance Report” (Tamil Guardian, 2022). The Sri Lankan military has cited national security reasons - for instance, “criminal activities” and “terrorism”-  for implementing the law (Tamil Guardian, 2022). Register General W.M.M.B has stated that “we have seen foreigners wanting to marry Sri Lankans here with ulterior motives like engaging in drug trafficking and money laundering. We want to make sure those foreigners who want to marry locals here are not involved in such activities” (Balachandran, 2021). 

It is observed that Rajapaksa’s Government seriously lacks evidence to this claim that has severely encroached upon the rights of its citizens to marry foreigners without the government’s intense scrutiny (Balachandran, 2021). The law, undoubtedly, stands in violation of the fundamental freedom of Sri Lankan nationals  (Balachandran, 2021)

This move is seen as an attempt by the government to intensify surveillance of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka (Tamil Guardian, 2022). The extensive military security is seen in the midst of the Sri Lankan army standing at the largest per capita, and an ever-expanding role of the military (Tamil Guardian, 2022). 

Sources and further reading:

Tamil Guardian (2022, January 13). Fear across Tamil diaspora after Sri Lankan military demands approval before marriage. Tamil Guardian. https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/fear-across-tamil-diaspora-after-sri-lankan-military-demands-approval-marriage 

Balachandran P.K. (2021, December 28). New law to restrict marriage in Sri Lanka. The Citizen. https://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/en/newsdetail/index/6/21268/new-law-to-restrict-marriage-in-sri-lanka