The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka issued recommendations/proposed action addressed to the Chairman of the National Election Commission. The recommendations were issued based on election monitoring carried out by HRCSL during the last Presidential Election 2019 and the regulations imposed by the Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine on 17/072020 under Clauses 2 and 3 of Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance.
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka writes to the Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs, Board of Investment and the Election Commission requesting for paid leave to be granted to both public and private sector employees to cast their votes at the parliamentary election on 5th August 2020. Click 'DOWNLOAD' to view the letter sent to the Secretary, Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs.
Click 'DOWNLOAD' to view the letter sent to the Secretary, Ministry of Labour.
Click 'DOWNLOAD' to view the letter sent to the Chairman, Board of Investment.
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka makes appeal to Political Parties and Independent Groups on Parliamentary Election 2020. HRCSL made this appeal based on the “Code of conduct for contesting political parties/independent groups and election candidates” set by the Election Commission of Sri Lanka on 03/06/2020. Click 'DOWNLOAD' to view the appeal in Sinhala and Tamil.
The Commission writes to the Director General of the Government Information Department requesting a directive be given to television media about the use of sign language for the benefit of the hearing impaired (deaf) community. Click 'DOWNLOAD' to read full letter in Sinhala (Tamil and English translations are pending).
The Commission writes to the IGP on taking severe legal action against individuals engaged in hate speech. Click 'DOWNLOAD' to read full letter in Sinhala (Tamil and English translations are pending).
The Commission writes to His Excellency the President on the granting of a Presidential Pardon to Former Army Corporal Sunil Ratnayake. Click 'DOWNLOAD' to read the full letter in English.
The Commission urges His Excellency the President to take urgent action to provide protection to the prison population in view of COVID-19 health concerns. Click 'DOWNLOAD' to read full letter.
The Commission makes recommendations to Commissioner General of Prisons regarding the protection of prisoners in light of the current COVID-19 outbreak. Click 'DOWNLOAD' to read the full recommendation in English.
HRCSL Statement to United Nations Human Rights Council on the Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Click 'DOWNLOAD' to read the statement.
The Commission writes to the Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine on the right of interning doctors to vote, as the Commission has received information that these interning doctors are faced with an imminent infringement of this right. The Commission requests the Ministry to take necessary steps and to inform the Commission of any such actions taken. Click below to read the full letter.
The Commission writes to the Secretary, Ministry of Labor and Trade Union Relations, and the Chairperson of the Election Commission on granting paid leave to private sector employees to cast their vote, without having an impact on their leave balance. The Commission, with its mandate to advice the government to adhere to procedure that is human rights compliant, recommends to the Secretary, Ministry of Labor and Trade Union Relations, that a public notice should be issued through newspapers etc. declaring that all private sector employees are granted a holiday to cast their vote, in order to ensure that the citizens sovereign right to vote is protected. The Commission also informs the Election Commission about the recommendation given to the Ministry of Labor and Trade Relations. Click here to read the full letter to the Ministry of Labor and Trade Unions
Click below to read the full letter to the Election Commission
The Commission, having been made aware of incidents in the past where persons with authority at polling centers were reported to have unduly influenced the public that come to vote, writes to the Chairperson of the Election Commission requesting him to select public places instead of places that could be under the custody of certain ethnic or religious groups, such as places of religious worship. Click below to read the full letter
The Commission writes to the chairperson of the Election Commission providing recommendations to ensure that the Presidential Elections of 2019 Leave No Voter Behind at Elections. The Commission underscores the responsibility of the state to provide for special allowances to guarantee the right to vote of persons with disabilities or with special needs, persons who are geographically isolated, migrant workers and Sri Lankan refugees in other countries, prisoners. Commission expects that the Election Commission will take all steps necessary to ensure that every citizen’s right to vote is upheld.
Human Rights Commission issues a press statement on the vetting of troops to be deployed for peacekeeping operations. 29 August 2019.
Human Rights Commission statement on the vetting of troops to be deployed for UN Peacekeeping Missions. 29 August 2019.
The Commission writes to the president of the Bar Association with regard to a letter sent by the Bar Association dated 08 August 2019 in response to the Commission’s letters on the refusal of some members of provincial Bar Associations to represent members of the Muslim community, in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks. In its response the Commission underscore its mandate to promote and protect the human rights of people and to engage with professional bodies such as the Bar Association in the interest of the public and the rule of law. Click below to read the full letter
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka writes welcoming the Directions issued by HE the President on Arrest and Detention of persons under the Prevention of Terrorism Act No 48 of L979 (PTA) and a state of emergency when in force. Those recommendations have been shared with the Hon. Prime Minister in the hope the Commission will be able to engage in dialogue with, and extend its support to, the government to ensure national security laws adhere to international human rights standards and policies.
The Commission according to its mandate to advise and assist the government in formulating legislation and administrative directive and procedures, and in the furtherance of the promotion and protection of fundamental rights, recommends that the Public Administration Circular 13/2019 should be withdrawn immediately. The Commission finds the said circular which imposes a certain dress code on employees at government institutions to be a violation of Article 12 (1), Article 12 (2) and Article 14 (1) of the Constitution and Section 6 (1) of ICCPR Act No. 56 of 2007.
The Commission writes to Mr. Kalinga Indratissa, the President of the Bar Association (BASL), in response to the BASL’s reply to HRCSL’s letter concerning unprofessional and unethical conduct of certain members of regional bar associations in the context of post 21 April attacks.
The Commission writes to Local Government Commissioners regarding members of the Muslim community who are lawfully engaged in commercial activities being barred from using public premises even though they had duly registered with local authorities and had paid due fees, in certain areas, after the violent attacks on 21 April 2019. The Commission requested the Local Government Commissioners to submit reports on complaints received and actions taken in this regard
The Commission has received several complaints from women that they were prevented from entering public institutions. The Commission therefore writes to the Ministry of Public Administration, Ministry of Health, Department of Immigration and Emigration, all Governors of the Provincial Councils, all Chief Secretaries of Provincial Councils, all Secretaries of Provincial Health Ministries and all District Secretaries, and to the Judicial Services Commission in requesting that the implementation of security measures in the aftermath of the April 21 terrorist attacks are not contravening the law by preventing accessing essential services and the equal protection of the law. Click below to read the full letters
The Commission wishes to emphasize the need to ensure that the security measures put in place in the aftermath of the April 21 terrorist attacks are non-discriminatory and does not harm the relations between the various ethnic and religious communities represented in institutions of higher studies. The Commission continues to receive complaints of person, particularly women, who have been refused access to public buildings and spaces even when they are not violating the Emergency Regulations that prohibits full face cover. The Commission brings this to the attention of the University Grants Commission and requests that the values of diversity and non-discrimination are upheld in institutions of higher studies.
The Commission writes to the Inspector General of Police on its observations and recommendations regarding the incidents of communal violence that broke out on 12 and 13 May 2019. The Commission emphasis the role and responsibility of the police in ensuring that equal protection of the law is provided to the affected citizens and to the public at large. The Commission recommends the Inspector General of Police to take immediate corrective actions.
The Commission has received several complaints from women that they were prevented from entering public premises and public buildings in the last two weeks, and that wrongful refusal of entry lead to these women from being denied essential services. The Commission is extremely concerned to receive these complaints and write to appeal to the Chambers of Commerce to ensure that no one is denied entry to public spaces unless they contravene the law.
The Commission writes to the heads of mass media institutions on the need to be sensitive and responsible in their reporting of the April 21 terrorist attacks. The Commission provides guidelines to the media institutions to abide by to ensure that unwarranted tension between ethnic or religious communities are prevented and that revictimization of those affected by the attacks are prevented. The Commission also emphasizes on the need to protect privacy of persons involved in searches conducted by the security forces, to treat arrested suspects and their families with dignity, to avoid broadcasting traumatizing images or video footages, avoid broadcasting unverified rumors as news items and ensuring that news reporting does not lead to hatred against refuges in transit in Sri Lanka, who are protected by the international law.
The Commission writes to the Secretary of the Ministry of Education on guidelines for implementing the full face cover prohibition in public institutions of education. The Commission expresses concern regarding several incidents that took place in schools leading to unwarranted ethnic tension and restriction of access to public institutions. The Commission underscores the importance of cultural sensitivity while ensuring safety schools.
The Commission believes that if Emergency Regulations are implemented by relevant officers in a manner that safeguards everyone’s rights and with cultural and religious sensitivity, security measures can be carried out successfully with the cooperation of every community. Immediately after the state of emergency was lifted in 2011, regulations were adopted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The Commission presented His Excellency a series of suggested guidelines to be followed when implementing those regulations. His Excellency issued those guidelines as Presidential Guidelines, with some edits, to the relevant security authorities. As those guidelines are directly applicable to the present Emergency Regulations as well, the Commission requests HE the President to re issue the guidelines as applicable to the Emergency Regulations of 2019.
The Commission recommend the Ministry of Education to follow steps to ensure that values of non-discrimination and equal protection are guaranteed to every child, in the process of implementing the Circular No. 25/2019 for ensuring security in school premises.
In the aftermath of the April 21 terrorist attacks, the Commission’s main duty is to prevent serious violations of human rights that would result from such tensions and violence. Commission’s Head Office and the ten Regional Offices will liaise with regional civil society organizations and relevant State institutions in order to make interventions in areas where there is unrest based on religious divisions and to act as a body to facilitate communication among those communities. We will also be intensifying previous measures taken by the Commission to promote communal harmony and peaceful co-existence. As the Police Department is empowered by the law to prevent such violent activities, the Commission brings to its attention that violence could be instigated by anti-social elements who, for personal revenge or narrow political gains, wish to exploit the tense situation that has arisen in the country.
HRC/TCO/27/18 – Human Rights Commission issues a recommendation that preventing teachers from wearing the Abaya while performing their duties is a violation of Article 10, 12 (1), 12(2) and 14 (e). 03 April 2019.
The Commission writes to the Hon Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Finance to express its deep appreciation of the inclusion of allocations in the 2019 budget to make public transport, and public and private commercial buildings disability accessible, the latter by 2023. The Commission also notes that allocation has been made to provide persons with disabilities with a monthly allowance, as well as financial incentives to encourage private entities to recruit persons with disabilities. The Commission is very encouraged by the Ministry of Finance accepting the recommendation of the Commission and taking an-important and impactful step to strengthen the `rights of persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka, These measures will enable scores of persons with disabilities to live with dignity and fully enjoy their rights.
Human Rights Commission Chairperson and Commissioner Ambika Satkunanathan respond to false and misleading allegations.
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.
Human Rights Commission responds to HE President’s statement in Parliament on 06 February 2019.
Human Rights Commission writes to the Chief Editor, Aruna News Paper regarding an erroneous news report published on 20th January 2019 titled ‘Human Rights Commission interferes with the mission to clean up prisons.’
Human Rights Commission writes to the Chief Editor of Mawbima News Paper regarding factually incorrect news report published about the Commission’s inquiry into the incident in November 2018 at Agunukolapalassa Closed Prison.
Statement by the Human Rights Commission on the Assault of Prisoners in November 2018 at the Angunakolapalassa Closed Prison.
Human Rights Commission writes to the Minister of Finance recommending the allocation of funds in the 2019 Budget to make public buildings and transportation accessible to person with disabilities.
HRC/3838/17 – Human Rights Commission issues a recommendation that the non-provision of disability access to education and accommodation facilities for a student at the Institute of Indigenous Medicine at Rajagiriya and discouraging and causing mental distress to the student is a violation of Article 11 and 12 (1) of the Constitution. 31 October 2018.
Human Rights Commission responds to the 24 October 2018 Daily Mirror lead story.
The Commission writes to Mr. Keerti Tennakoon, Executive Director of Centre for Human Rights, in response to his letter alleging that the Commission has suspended inquiry, into the alleged incident of the Chief Minister of the Uva Province harassing and intimidating the principal of Badulla Tamil Maha Vidyalaya. Mr. Tennakoon alleges the Commission has purposefully delayed making the report public ‘given the sensitive political climate and is waiting for the Chief Minister’s term to be completed.’ The Commission strongly denies the allegations put forth by Mr. Tennakoon and states that as an independent commission strengthened by the 19th Amendment to the Constitution always acts without fear or favor. The inquiry into the incident has been completed and the commission has suspended issuing the recommendations, as the petitioner has lodged a Fundamental Rights application at the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court wishes and calls for it, the Commission will forward its findings and recommendation to the Supreme Court.
Human Rights Commission writes to H.E. President on death penalty of Sri Lanka.
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has issued a recommendation to the Secretary, Ministry of Education and other eleven respondents to protect the right to education of a female school student in Kekirawa, North Central Province in Sri Lanka. The Commission’s recommendation directly addressed the disciplinary process to which the school girl was subjected and student disciplinary processes in general.
The Commission, having considered various representation on the above and also Sri Lanka's international human rights obligations, recommends that the future Constitution of Sri Lanka must recognize the principle of supremacy of the Constitution. All written and customary laws will be invalid to the extent of inconsistency with the Constitution of Sri Lanka.