Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission to release set of guidelines on protection of human rights defenders
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) announced that it plans to release a set of guidelines and recommendations on the protection of human rights defenders in Sri Lanka and that it would engage in a consultative process to finalise these guidelines and recommendations.
In a meeting held on October 10, the HRCSL had engaged representatives of civil society organisations in Sri Lanka.
The meeting provided an opportunity for civil society representatives to share their experiences, concerns, and recommendations with the Commission and for the Commission to discuss its current programme and future plans, the HRCSL’s Media Spokesperson said, in a statement on Monday (October 16).
The meeting was chaired by the Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, Justice L.T.B. Dehideniya, and attended by commissioners Prof. Thaiyamuthu Thanaraj, Prof. Farzana Haniffa, Mr. Nimal Punchchihewa, and Dr. Gehan Gunatilleke, and the directors and senior staff of the Commission.
“Civil society representatives shared their experiences and concerns at the meeting, including threats to democratic and civic space in Sri Lanka, the harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders in the course of their work, the importance of protecting, promoting and fulfilling economic, social and cultural rights, and challenges faced by persons with disabilities, particularly in the transport sector.”
“Civil society representatives expressed their interest in working closely with the Commission through its thematic subcommittees. They also emphasised the need for the proactive disclosure of information including past inquiry reports and the need for strengthening the Commission’s complaints mechanisms including its hotline,” the statement said.
“The chairperson and members of the Commission announced that the Commission plans to release a set of guidelines and recommendations on the protection of human rights defenders and that it would engage in a consultative process to finalise these guidelines and recommendations.”
It also assured civil society representatives that the thematic sub-committee system would be re-established along with the participation of civil society experts and a process for constituting these sub-committees would be launched shortly, the HRCSL spokesman said.
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka also invited civil society representatives to continue to engage and work closely with the Commission in strengthening the protection, promotion and fulfilment of human rights in Sri Lanka.
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