Rita Izsak-Ndiaye to visit former conflict areas

Rita Izsák-Ndiaye

The U.N.’s expert on minority rights arrived in Sri Lanka on Monday on a ten-day visit to examine conditions on the island nation in the aftermath of its bloody decades-long civil war.

Rita Izsak-Ndiaye, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, held her first meeting with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samarweera and has been tasked to advise on, monitor and report on rights for ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.

She is expected to visit former conflict areas and meet with both government officials and civil society groups, according to the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“Experience has shown that the recognition and promotion of minority rights are critical, if not requisite, in achieving long-lasting peace and reconciliation, particularly in countries such as Sri Lanka that were once divided by ethnic conflicts,” Izsak-Ndiaye said in a statement.

She will be touring parts of the country that were worst hit by the long civil war fought between the Sri Lankan government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which revolved largely around the grievances of Sri Lanka’s large Tamil minority.

Izsak-Ndiaye will present her full report of her findings to the U.N. Human Rights Council in March 2017.