International Bar forced to postpone visit

A delegation from the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) has been forced to postpone a planned visit to Sri Lanka to assess the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary due to the last minute withdrawal of permission to enter the country, the press office of the institute said.

The IBAHRI delegation consisting of distinguished jurists was scheduled to visit Sri Lanka from 1st to 10th February 2013.

A visa had been issued to one member of the delegation on 18th January 2013 and was revoked on 29th January 2013, while approval to enter the country was suspended in the cases of other delegates on 29th and 30th January 2013.

The high-level delegation had intended to conduct meetings and consult a wide diversity of stakeholders in regard to the development of the legal profession, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka, including members of the legal profession, government, media and civil society.

“The IBAHRI has expressed its serious concern to the Sri Lankan High Commission in London regarding the revocation and suspension of entry approval for its high-level delegates and looks forward to working together with the relevant authorities in ensuring a speedy and satisfactory resolution,” the institute said in a statement

The International Bar Association (IBA), established in 1947, is the world’s leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies.

Its membership includes over 45,000 lawyers and more than 200 bar associations and law societies spanning every continent. The IBA influences the development of international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world. (Colombo Gazette)