UN Rapporteur on minority issues begins Sri Lanka visit

pic-01The United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsák-Ndiaye, commenced an official visit to Sri Lanka today, the Foreign Ministry said.

Rita Izsák-Ndiaye will be in Sri Lanka till October 20 to assess the current situation of national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities in the country.

At the commencement of her visit the UN Special Rapporteur had talks with Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, the Foreign Ministry added.

“Experience has shown that the recognition and promotion of minority rights are critical, if not requisite, in achieving long-lasting peace and reconciliation, particularly in countries such as Sri Lanka that were once divided by ethnic conflicts,” noted the independent expert tasked by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise in the field of minority rights globally,” Izsák-Ndiaye said in a press statement ahead of her visit.

She said that considering the long-standing grievances that were at the roots of a 25-year civil war in Sri Lanka, any efforts towards accountability and reconciliation must include a careful examination of the extent to which the rights of minorities are protected and promoted in the country.

During her ten-day mission, the human rights expert will be in Colombo as well as other locations in the Northern, North Central, Eastern and Central Provinces to meet with minority communities to hear directly from them about their issues and concerns.

The Special Rapporteur will also meet with a wide range of other stakeholders, including State authorities, the National Human Rights Commission and civil society actors.

Ms Izsák-Ndiaye said her visit is intended to assist the government and the Sri Lankan society at large in identifying challenges and solutions, as well as sharing experiences at this critical time for Sri Lanka.

The Special Rapporteur will present her full report on the mission to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2017. (Colombo Gazette)

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