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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Sri Lanka: More amendments to human rights action plan

Image file photo: IDP child in Sri Lanka; one of the areas that has been axed is Social and Economic rights.

A lesser known fact is that the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) was further amended before the Cabinet of Ministers approved it, reports Sunday Times.

The amendments were made by the then acting Foreign Affairs Minister, Harsha de Silva.

Such amendments were made taking into consideration the following factors, a ministerial source said. They were: Religious sentiments and cultural values of the General Public of the country.

  •  Actions that could have undesirable effects on the investor confidence pertaining to the prevailing industrial peace in the country.
  • The existing Government policy of provision of housing facilities to the homeless in a phased out basis.
    Ministers noted that:
  • The NHRAP has paid attention to give effect to certain civil, political, economic and cultural rights which had not been fully enjoyed up to now;
  • The NHRAP should give priority to the matters pointed out by the General Public to be enforced in the field of Human Rights, to ensure the sustainability of a Democratic Society;
  • Comprehensive provisions are already available in the Constitution for non-discrimination of any individual of any segment of society;
  • Actions proposed in the NHRAP should not impinge on the religious sentiments and cultural values of the General Public and the sentiments of the minority communities of the country.

Ministers were emphatic that the country’s religious sentiments and cultural values should be protected. They also said they wanted to ensure the existing Official Language Policy based on the Constitutional provisions be retained. This was in the light of an NHRAP provision that English also should be made a national language.

Ministers also decided that “any other matter which may not be in harmony with the civil and political, economic, social and cultural rights of the General Public in the country” should not be changed


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