Press Notice No: HRC/P/i/E/27/10/23
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka presented its general observations and recommendations on 26 October 2023 to the Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms for his consideration on the Revised Anti-Terrorism Bill with a view to ensure compatibility with the fundamental rights chapter of the Sri Lankan Constitution and Sri Lanka’s international human rights obligations:
The general observations and recommendations presentation are as follows;
- Substantially revise the definition of the ‘offence of terrorism’ by narrowing its scope;
- Ensure any detention order issued against any persons suspected of the ‘offence of terrorism’ be subject to judicial oversight as envisaged by Article 13(2) of the Constitution;
- Ensure that a judge is, at all times, vested with meaningful authority to grant bail to any suspect taken into custody on suspicion of the ‘offence of terrorism’;
- Ensure any person deprived of liberty be granted prompt and meaningful access to legal counsel without arbitrary or unreasonable conditions; and
- Refrain from granting the police any powers to issue directives restricting the fundamental rights of the people.
The HRCSL has requested the Minister of Justice to consider and incorporate these observations prior to it being placed on the Order Paper of Parliament.