Sri Lanka has invited several Special UN Rapporteurs to undertake country visits during the course of this year, including the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism in July 2017.
The Government yesterday responded to the report on Sri Lanka by the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, during the ongoing Human Rights Council session in Geneva.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Geneva Ravinatha P. Aryasinha thanked Ms. Mónica Pinto, the former Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers on her report, following her visit to Sri Lanka, which was presented to the Council by her successor, Diego García-Sayán.
“We take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Diego García-Sayán on his appointment as Special Rapporteur on this important subject, and while expressing support for the mandate, affirm Sri Lanka’s interest in continuing to engage with him and his office,” the Government said.
Ms. Pinto undertook an official country visit to Sri Lanka, at the invitation of the Government, together with the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment from 29th April to 7th May 2016.
The was the first visit to the country by a Special Rapporteur on the subject of the independence of judges and lawyers, and the Government of Sri Lanka says it was pleased to have received the Special Rapporteur, especially at a time when, with the mandate of the people, received at two important elections in the country in 2015, Sri Lanka has set out to undertake reform pertaining to the rule of law and governance.
“During the past 2 ½ years, the National Unity Government, under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, has set out to strengthen engagement with the United Nations systems and procedures and the international community as a whole in an open, inclusive and constructive manner. We believe that such engagement and deliberation has contributed positively to the endeavors of the Government to strengthen, promote and protect human rights, good governance including democratic institutional structures, and development in the country,” Aryasinha said.
He said that as part of the Government’s engagement with the UN system and procedures, Sri Lanka in December 2015, extended a standing invitation to the UN Special Procedures Mandate Holders. Since then, Sri Lanka has had productive visits and interactive dialogues with the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances; the SR on Minority Issus, the SR on Torture, and the SR on the promotion of truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence.
“Based on the specific needs of the country, and in particular, in the context of the ongoing reconciliation process in the country, we have invited several Special Procedures to undertake country visits during the course of this year as well. This includes the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism in July 2017, the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention,” he said.
The Government believes that these visits will and the dialogues and conversations in relation to these specific subject areas will serve to assist the Government and contribute to the Government’s efforts in fulfilling its obligations to the people of the country, in promoting and protecting human rights, strengthening democratic institutions, and good governance.considered the head of the Unofficial Bar. (Colombo Gazette)