Image: Ambassador Ravinatha P. Aryasinha at the GoSL side event held on 1st March at place des nations.©s.dshapriya
On 03rd Friday Ambassador / Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka Ravinatha P. Aryasinhathe told the ongoing 34the session of UNHRC that Sri Lanka is currently in the process of deliberating on establishing an effective mechanism for constant and continuous follow-up and implementation of recommendations by Special Procedures and other human rights mechanisms.
Making a statement under the agenda item 3 in response to the report presented by the Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment Ambassador Ravinatha P. Aryasinha further said that the government takes note of the Report submitted by the outgoing Special Rapporteur, to this Council, on his visit to the country, at an important transformative time in Sri Lanka. The government is studying the Report with due diligenc end objective and aim is to prevent and combat torture and we are committed to taking steps towards this end, he said.
Experts form his statement followers:
Some of the steps taken so far include the following:
Issuance of directions , in June 2016, by the President, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Minister of Defence, requiring the Armed Forces and the Police to,
(1) ensure that fundamental rights of persons arrested or detained are respected and that such persons are treated humanely; and
(2) assist and facilitate the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka to exercise and perform its powers, functions and duties.
Depositing a Declaration with the UN Secretary-General under Article 22 of the Convention Against Torture in August 2016. This allows Sri Lanka to participate in the communication procedure of the Committee Against Torture;
In February 2015, the Parliament unanimously enacted the Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act. The Ministry of Justice has established a Committee to undertake a review of all the provisions of this Act and to recommend amendments based on that review;
In keeping with its pledge to the people to uphold, promote and protect the human rights of all, and in accordance with international treaty obigations, the Government approved a National Human Rights Action Plan for the period 2017-2021. Prevention of Torture is one of the thematic areas of focus in the Action Plan;
The Right to Information Act that was approved by Parliament on 24 June came into effect on 3 rd February this year;
The Cabinet of Ministers approved an Amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code providing for a suspect to have access to legal counsel.
Following the visit of the Special Rapporteur, a Committee was established in July 2016 by the Ministry of Law and Order to visit / examine and take preventive measures on allegations of torture,
– requiring the Police to forward a monthly report to the Committee in respect of torture cases reported to the Police during each month;
– providing tools, mechanisms, methodologies in order to enhance the capacity to investigate and trace scientific evidence;
– providing suggestions and recommendations to improve the skills of nvestigation officers on modern investigation methods;
– adopting best-practices and modern methodologies followed by police forces elsewhere;
– studying the sociological and psychological factors that lead to the practice of torture; and -implementation of a monitoring mechanism to prevent torture Experts on torture prevention, representatives of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, the Attorney-General’s Department, and senior members of the Sri Lanka Police are on this Committee.
Read the full statement as a PDF:GoSL response toSR torture 03_03_2017_