A UN Committee today called for comprehensive legislation on hate speech in Sri Lanka fulfilling the requirements which ensure State parties prohibit ideas based on racial superiority and hatred, the incitement to racial hatred, acts of violence against any race or groups of persons of another colour or ethnic origin, and incitement to such acts.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) also recommended that the State party ensure that its criminal legislation defines racial motivation as an aggravating circumstance.
CERD made the recommendations after reviewing Sri Lanka and hearing statements made by the Sri Lankan delegation.
In its final observations issued today, CERD also called for enforce legislative provisions to prosecute perpetrators of hate speech, incitement to violence, and hate crimes to deter further crimes and prevent impunity of perpetrators.
It also proposed that the Government provide information in its next periodic report, on numbers of cases reported, investigations, prosecutions, convictions of perpetrators, and remedies for victims.
CERD also urged the Government to foster tolerance and unity through facilitating dialogue between communities in conflict to eliminate tensions.
Bearing in mind the indivisibility of all human rights, the Committee encourages the State party to consider ratifying those international human rights instruments that it has not yet ratified, in particular treaties with provisions that have direct relevance to communities that may be subjected to racial discrimination, including Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, ILO Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (No. 169) and ILO Convention No. 189 concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers. (Colombo Gazette)