Taking into consideration the serious health concerns resulting from the New Corona (Covid -19) outbreak, Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) wishes to inform the following to the general public. Click DOWNLOAD to read full notice in Sinhala, Tamil or English.
The Commission has established a unit to investigate allegations of human rights violations by government officials in the context of the 2019 Presidential Election. Click below to read the full notice.
The Commission writes to the public appealing to prevent harassment and discrimination against persons based on their clothing. It has come to the attention of the Commission that women who wear clothing such as the Abaya, Hijab with the face opened etc are prevented from accessing public institutions, public and essential services, even though they are not in contravention of the Emergency Regulations of 2019, which only prohibits full face coverings. The Commission emphasizes on the harassment, humiliation and ill treatment faced by these women in their daily lives and request the public in ensuring every citizen’s rights are protected. Read the full document
Human Rights Commission mobile service in Maskeliya. 10 May 2019.
The Commission vehemently condemns the violent attacks perpetrated on April 21 and appeals to the public to recognize our duty as citizens in building our common future with responsibility. The Commission emphasizes that the trauma and the pain of the Easter Attack should not be converted into hatred and retaliatory counterviolence. The citizens of the country should give leadership to build a society in which we all can live in human dignity as equals. The best response to extremism and extremist violence is to work towards a just social order. Click below to read the full letter.
The Commission has concluded its inquiries and investigations into the matter and the Commission’s recommendation has also been approved. However, as the petitioner has lodged a Fundamental Rights petition at the Supreme Court, the Commission has suspended issuing its recommendation. The Commission will however forward the recommendation to the Supreme Court, if the Court so requires, and calls for it from the Commission.
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) is pleased to announce that it has been designated an ‘A’ status human rights commission by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) in May 2018. Applications for re-accreditation to ‘A’ were not successful in both 2007 and 2009. GANHRI assesses whether a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) deserves full membership of the Forum, based on compliance with the Paris Principles (1993). The Paris Principles were adopted by the UN General Assembly as the global standards by which the credibility and effectiveness of a NHRI is to be assessed.
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka will investigate complaints made by the public with regard to the aforementioned issue by virtue of the powers vested under the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Act No.21 of 1996. As the initial step of the investigation, written information and evidence will be collected from persons affected by the violent incidents and any other interested party. Written submissions should not exceed three (03) pages and must include the date, place and time of incidents and names of persons or institutions identified related to the issues addressed by the written submissions. Photographs or videos of the incidents can also be attached to the submission. Written submissions must be forwarded on or before 21 April 2018 via registered post to the following address: Regional Coordinator Kandy Regional Office Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka No.8/1, Primrose Road Peradeniya Road Kandy For further details, please contact the Regional Coordinator of Kandy Regional Office on 081 2228009 or 070 365 49 01.
The Commission issues a public notice regarding the misrepresentation of the Commission’s stance in the media with regards to the current limitations on access to social media. The Commission is very attentive to the human rights situation in the country and depending on the gravity and the severity of the violations, the Commission undertakes necessary actions on its own motion, without waiting for individual complaints to be lodged. The media spokesperson for the Commission is Commissioner Mr. Saliya Pieris PC and all official communications and statements are posted on the Commission’s website www.hrcsl.lk
Regarding Election complaints desk. 30 January 2018.
Human Rights Commission establishes an election complaints unit for the presidential elections. 24 October 2019. Human Rights Commission appeals to the public to prevent harassment and discrimination of persons based on their clothing. 17 May 2019. Human Rights Commission mobile service in Maskeliya. 10 May 2019. Human Rights Commission appeals to the public to work towards a just social order as the best response to extremism and extremist violence. 26 April 2019 Regarding the Inquiry into the allegation that Chief Minister of the Uva Province had harassed and intimidated the principal of the Badulla Tamil Balika Vidyalaya. 10 October 2018. Public Statement: Human Rights Commission receives ‘A’ status Accreditation. 30 May 2018. Human Rights Commission inquiry on violent incidents based on religious hatred in Kandy District. 08 May 2018. Misrepresentation of the Commission’s views in the media on limiting access to social media. 13 March 2018. Regarding Election complaints desk. 30 January 2018. Public Notice: New email address of the Human Rights Commission. 29 December 2017. Regarding the Misrepresentation of the Commission in the media. 07 November 2017. The Commission issues a public statement regarding the misrepresentation of HRCSL and its interventions in incidents of human rights violations. The media has misled the public and discouraged the public from approaching the HRCSL by carrying out erroneous reports on an inquiry held on 2017.10.30 at the head office regarding a female school student from Anuradhapura.
The Commission issues a public notice on unscrupulous organizations and individuals posing as the HRCSL and its representatives, and charging money for ‘services’ they claim they are rendering as the Commission.
Human Rights Commission The Commission has drafted its Strategic Plan for 2016-2019 and invites comments and suggestions from interested parties and citizens. Please send your comments to the Chairperson of the Human Right Commission of Sri Lanka on or before 15 August 2016. By post: Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, No 165, Kynsey Road, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka. Fax: (+94) 011 2694924 Email: [email protected] Download the draft strategic plan on the Commission’s strategic plan 2016-2019. 29 July 2016.
The Commission welcomes the Directives issued by HE President Maithripala Sirisena on the arrest and detention of persons under the Prevention of Terrorism Act No 48 of L979 (PTA) and a state of emergency when in force. The Directives would facilitate the Commission exercise its powers, functions and duties in this regard and would without doubt reinforce the protection afforded to persons subject to arrest and detention under extraordinary laws. The Commission also welcomes the government’s decision to repeal the PTA and wishes to bring to the attention of the government the need to ensure that the national security legislation, which is being proposed to replace the PTA, adheres to international human rights standards. The Commission recommends the following elements that have been identified by the UN Special Rapporteur on Protecting and Promoting Human Rights While Countering Terrorism (hereinafter the Special Rapporteur, which should be an integral part of any future national security legislation that is drafted. Read the full statement.
Rights to Education of 5 years old child who has denied school admission in Kuliapitiya. 09 March 2016.
Press release – Human Rights Commission writes to the Hon. Attorney General conveying its grave concern about the rights of the detainees and remandees under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Emergency Regulations. 27 November 2015
The Commission expresses its disappointment about the publishing of false information in the past through various media outlets, which the Commission has rebutted on several occasions. The citizens of Sri Lanka are entitled to receive true and accurate information and in order to avoid the potential negative view that could be held by the general public regarding the functions of the Commission, the Commission aims to place on record accurate information regarding the vetting process. Click below to read the full statement
The Commission writes to counter the misinformation spread amongst the public regarding the vetting of troops to be deployed for peacekeeping operations. The Commission expresses its grave concern about the spread of misinformation, which could result in public misperception and wishes to provide correct information regarding the vetting procedure, as the Commission respects the right to information of the public. Click below to read the full letter
In March 2018, four Assistant teachers of Sri Shanmuga Hindu Ladies College, Trincomalee lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) that the Principal and the School Board of Management prohibited them from wearing the Abaya at school. The school justified the prohibition on the basis that historically the school, which was founded by a Hindu, has followed Hindu traditions, and wearing the Abaya was not in line with the customs of the school. HRCSL in its recommendation states that national schools are bound by the Constitution and cannot violate the absolute right to religious freedom under Article 10. The denial of the right of the complainants to wear their traditional dress as well as the arbitrary nature of the transfers to other schools were done on the basis the religion of the complainants. Hence, the rights to which the complainants are entitled as per Article 12 (1) and 12 (2) of the Constitution have been violated. The Commission further states that although the manifestation of religion, under Article 14 (1) (e), can be restricted in order to recognize and respect the rights and freedoms of others, ensuring another person’s religious freedom does not require barring the wearing of the Abaya at school. The Commission reiterates the need for respect for diversity and pluralism in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country such as Sri Lanka, and calls upon the Ministry of Education and the Zonal Education Director to conduct awareness raising programmes on diversity and pluralism for school principals, teachers, students and parents. The Commission also notes with deep concern that the use of social media, such as Facebook, to share information related to the case in the public domain without any regard for the confidentiality of the proceedings and without the permission of the parties concerned or the Commission is a breach of ethical responsibilities. In this case, such acts only served to incite religious and ethnic hatred and intolerance within the community and led to the harassment and intimidation of the complainants and respondents. Since such acts can even lead to inter community violence, the Commission calls upon all citizens to be mindful of the misuse of social media as weapons in campaigns to incite religious and ethnic hatred and violence and use social media responsibly as a tool to promote inter-ethnic and inter-religious understanding and harmony. The full recommendation can be accessed at Recommendations
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has issued a recommendation to the Chairman of the University Grants Commission – Sri Lanka, Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo, Director of the Institute of Indigenous Medicine and three other respondents to protect the university education of an undergraduate with disabilities currently studying at the Institute of Indigenous Medicine, University of Colombo. The recommendation of the Commission focused on the following aspects;
- The provision of a placement at another university to continue her education as per the request of complainant
- The payment of reasonable compensation to the said undergraduate
- The initiation of a disciplinary inquiry into the actions of four respondents
- The introduction within the university system of guidelines regarding disability accessibility
- The promotion of disability inclusive education
- Conducting awareness programmes on the rights of persons with disabilities.
Chairperson Dr. Deepika Udagama and Commissioner Ambika Satkunanathan write to the Hon. Speaker of the Parliament responding to false and misleading allegations made against them in the parliament on 21.02.2019 by Hon. Sisira Jayakody, Member of Parliament.
Human Rights Commission writes to Mr. Mahinda Illeperuma, Chief Editor of Sathi Aga Aruna newspaper on publishing untruthful information about her, without obtaining her response, thereby violating professional ethics of journalism.
The Commission writes to HE President regarding His Excellency’s statement in Parliament on 06 February 2019 concerning the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.
The Commission writes to Mr. Mahinda Illeperuma, Chief Editor of Aruna newspaper with reference to the article published on 20 January 2019 titled “Human Rights Commission interferes with the mission to clean up prisons” which contained erroneous information. The Commission also states that by not contacting the Commission for its opinion, Aruna newspaper has not adhered to the fundamental principles of ethical journalism.
The Commission writes to Mr. Benet Rupasinghe, Chief Editor of Mawbima newspaper on the erroneous reporting on 23 January 2019 titled “Four Clubs used to assault inmates have been confiscated by Human Rights Commission officers”. The Commission further states that by not contacting the Commission for its opinion on the matter Mawbima newspaper has not adhered to the fundamental principles of ethical journalism.
The Commission writes to Mr. Kesera Abeyawardena, Editor in Chief of Daily Mirror responding to the lead story on 24 October 2018 regarding the early repatriation of Lt. Col. Amunupura.
The Commission has established an Election Complaints Desk to receive complaints regarding rights violations relating to the upcoming 2018 Local Government Election. The Desk shall pay particular attention to the rights violations of women candidates.