Some lawyers’ refusal to represent Muslims: HRCSL takes it up with BASL
October 4, 2019
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has taken up with the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) the issue of some lawyers refusing to represent the Muslim community in the wake of the Easter Sunday carnage.
The HRCSL was responding to BASL letter dated Aug 08, 2019.
The following is the full text of the letter addressed to, BASL President Kalinga Indatissa PC by Chairperson, HRCSL Dr. Deepika Udagama:
“1. The Commission is cognizant of its mandate conferred under its present statute, Act, No. 21 of 1996. The Commission addressed the above matter to you, as BASL is the professional body of legal practitioners in the country entrusted with upholding professional standards applicable to its members. You will note that we did not write to you by way of a recommendation subsequent to an inquiry. Indeed, if BASL came within our mandate, we would have summoned relevant officials forthwith in order to examine the complaints received. Instead we requested BASL itself to look into the matter and take corrective action.
“Our Commission is firmly of the view that as the National Human Rights Institution in the country we could, and should, engage with professional bodies in the public interest. In this instance we wrote to BASL, as the matters complained of were about the conduct of Attorney’s-at- Law that had a serious negative impact on the right to equal protection of the law for a certain segment of citizenry. We wrote in anticipation of BASL’s cooperation in resolving this matter.