HRCSL issues guidelines on application of hate speech law

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has issued guidelines to the Attorney General and the Police on the application of the hate speech law.

In a letter to the Attorney General and the Police, the HRCSL noted that the enforcement of section 3 of the ICCPR Act has not been done in a consistent and an even-handed manner, and sees the need for greater clarity on the legal scope of the offence recognised by the said provision.

The Commission is of the view that section 3 of the ICCPR Act is an important legal tool in combating hate speech.

“As we are aware, hate speech has unfortunately become a common phenomenon in the country targeting various groups,” HRCSL Chairperson Deepika Udagama said.

The Commission has recommended to the Police that the guidelines the HRCSL has issued are taken into consideration by the Police Department for the fair and effective enforcement of section 3 of the ICCPR Act.

Udagama says the analysis and recommendations were finalised after consulting legal practitioners in the field of fundamental rights.

The Commission urged the Attorney General to take into consideration the recommendations and ensure the necessary prosecutorial guidelines are formulated for the fair and effective application of section 3 of the ICCPR Act.

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