AG asserts Sri Lanka’s zero tolerance policy on torture

jayantha-jayasuriyaThe Government is firm in its commitment of a zero tolerance policy on torture, Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya told a UN Committee today.

Jayasuriya told the Committee Against Torture that in June this year, President Maithripala Sirisena, joined by the Minister of Law and Order, joined an initiative of the National Human Rights Commission to march against Torture, sending a message at the highest level of Government regarding the Government’s commitment to zero tolerance on torture.

The Committee Against Torture today began reviewing Sri Lanka and a delegation led by the AG represented Sri Lanka at the session.

“The Government, keeping in line with its constructive engagement with the Human Rights Treaty mechanisms has taken several progressive policy measures over the last two years, recognizing the importance of a transparent and independent mechanism for investigation into alleged incidents of torture in custody,” the AG said in a statement on behalf of Sri Lanka.

He said that a declaration was made under Article 22 of the Convention Against Torture recognizing the competence of the Committee against Torture to receive individual communications in August 2016;

The AG said that continuing its commitment to the pledge given to the people of the country to uphold, promote and protect the human rights of all, and in keeping with international treaty obligations as well, the Government has undertaken a voluntary process of introducing a National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) for the period 2017-2021.

He said that in May 2016 the Cabinet approved an Inter-Ministerial Committee tasked with drafting the National Human Rights Action Plan for 2017-2021, assisted by a Steering Committee of officials and experts and drafting committees working on each of the thematic areas. Prevention of Torture is one of the thematic areas focused in developing the National Human Rights Action Plan for 2017 – 2021.

Jayantha Jayasuriya said that the Government has also initiated a process to develop the policy and the legal framework of a new counter terrorism legislation for Sri Lanka. The new legal framework focuses on reviewing the provisions of the PTA in line with international human rights norms and standards. (Colombo Gazette)

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