The government says it will make all preparations to ensure there is further progress on the human rights front ahead of the next Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka at the UN in Geneva in 2017.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa;s human rights envoy, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said this after meeting the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay today.
The Minister said that the government will not wait till 2017 and will soon implement all what it promised at the last UPR in March.
He also said that the government hopes Pillay will present a balanced report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next month based on her visit to Sri Lanka.
During the last UPR on Sri Lanka last year the government rejected 98 recommendations and accepted 111.
The Minister briefed Pillay on implementation of Sri Lanka’s National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (NHRAP) which was conceived of as part of Sri Lanka’s participation in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process at the United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva, in 2008.
One of the main pledges made by Sri Lanka was to adopt and implement a national plan of action that would encapsulate all national efforts towards improvement in human rights promotion and protection in the country. This initiative, which commenced in 2008, involved all stakeholders in the process of preparation and a final text was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers in 2011. Minister Samarasinghe who oversaw the process of preparation as the then Minister for Human Rights until 2010, has been granted the responsibility by Cabinet, of coordinating and monitoring of implementation of the NHRAP. The process of implementation is nearing 1 ½ years since inception.
The Minister will oversee a review of progress at the end of the year together with the approximately 50 agencies of government that are responsible for implementation. The NHRAP is of a 5 year duration and implementation of the Plan covers the period 2012 to 2016. (Colombo Gazette)