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Gota appointed 4 commissioners sabotaging HRCSL independence – HRC-SL staff union

Issuing a statement the Human Rights Commission Employees Union says it strongly protests statements by four commissioners  in relation to a major news item published in the ‘Mawbima’ newspaper on 12.03.2023.

According to a press release issued by the union, the commissioners of the HRC-SL , Vijitha Nanayakkara, Nimal Karunasiri, Reverend Kalupahana Piyarathana Thero and Anusuya Shanmuganathan had responded to the news published in the  newspaper captioned ‘Is the summoning of the Minister of Public Security to the Human Rights Commission a political conspiracy?’

The statements made by them are completely false, says the Union.

According to the Human Rights Commission Act, the heads of that institution are the Chairman and the Secretary. The employees’ association strongly emphasizes that those statements were made by several commissioners in violation of the HRC-SL Act and policies of the Human Rights Commission.

The Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission has full powers to investigate and advise the government on any human rights violation in Sri Lanka. The Commission has the necessary legal framework to summon any person to the Commission for such investigation under the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission Act No. 21 of 1996 and the Paris Principles.

The Minister of Public Security, Tiran Alas, was summoned to the Human Rights Commission to inquire about the attack on the protestors after the security forces were called to the Colombo University  on 07 March. The Union  has further stated that by announcing to the media that they have not summoned the minister, even though the media spokesman of the commission has informed the relevant commissioners in writing about this before calling for minister to come to the HRC-SL.

Making false accusations the four commissioners has seriously damaged the independence, dignity and existence of the commission.

Also, although the Commission has the ability to summon people for an investigation, it has been stated in this press release that what was sent to the Minister of Public Security for this investigation was not a summons but a request to attend a discussion for the investigation.

When inquiring about such  matter, instead of contacting the heads of the concerned institution and asking the facts, a media organization has violated media ethics by obtaining statements from several commissioners and publishing them without verifying them, claims the union.

By this act, the concerned four commissioners are trying to create a wrong opinion among the people regarding the independent and correct decisions taken by the chairperson of the commission, the employees’ union states.

According to Section 03 of the Human Rights Commission Act No. 21 of 1996, it is clearly stated that in order to be appointed as a commissioner, ‘persons who have knowledge or practical experience in matters related to human rights should be selected’. Even though the the Union has already reported to the parliament that some of the commissioners involved in this incident were found guilty by the courts for violating fundamental rights, found guilty in the investigation of bribery allegations, and found guilty for getting promotions by showing fake educational qualifications etc.

Statement issued by the union:

 

 

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