Sri Lanka Brief
News‘SILENT AND POWERLESS’- Review of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka in 2010 by LST

‘SILENT AND POWERLESS’- Review of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka in 2010 by LST

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VIII. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
In the absence of members (between June 2009 and until February 2011), the intervening year was an annus horribilis for the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL). The senior staff sought to safeguard the institution, and its day-to-day functioning, to the best of their ability and exercising their own judgement. They did not have many allies, nor did they seek to find new ones.

Clearly, the HRCSL suffered a loss of authority in relation to state actors and agencies, and loss of credibility in its effectiveness as a national institution for the promotion and protection of human rights. Battered in the maelstrom of Sri Lanka.s continuing human rights crisis and deepening state authoritarianism, the HRCSL was perceived to be silent and powerless.

In these circumstances, despite the transparently flawed process of selection of members in 2011, the absence of public consultation on nominees, and grave concerns over the human rights competence and consciousness of some among those appointed, the


Recommendations to the Government of Sri Lanka
1. Repeal the Eighteenth Amendment and ensure the principle of independence in the selection and appointment of members to the Human Rights Commission.
2. Amend the Human Rights Commission Act – in consultation with the Human Rights Commission, parliamentarians, public administrators, civil society organisations and the general public – to enable enforcement of the HRC‟s recommendations.
3. Ensure parliamentary debate on the annual report of the Human Rights Commission.

Recommendations to the Government of Sri Lanka
1. Repeal the Eighteenth Amendment and ensure the principle of independence in the selection and appointment of members to the Human Rights Commission.
2. Amend the Human Rights Commission Act – in consultation with the Human Rights Commission, parliamentarians, public administrators, civil society organisations and the general public – to enable enforcement of the HRC‟s recommendations.
3. Ensure parliamentary debate on the annual report of the Human Rights Commission.

Recommendations to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka
1. Demonstrate independence of mind and spirit by raising and tackling controversial issues that violate or restrict human rights, including the continuance of the state of emergency, and being in solidarity with victims of human rights abuses and human rights defenders.
2. Nominate one among its members to be the focal point for human rights defenders within the Commission, and establish a systematic functioning mechanism for the HRCSL to relate to human rights defenders and women human rights defenders as a group.
3. Ensure that all members and staff are trained on the application of the Paris Principles, the ICC-SCA General Observations, and the References of the Advisory Council of Jurists, in addition to international human rights laws and standards, in the performance of their duties.

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