The Government of Sri Lanka says that progress has been made in the drafting of new Counter Terrorism Legislation.
“We envisage a Counter Terrorism Act that conforms to human rights safeguards and other international standards and we expect the draft legislation to be gazetted for tabling in Parliament for consideration, once the established procedures including translation into local languages are completed, shortly.”
Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Mr. Ravinatha Aryasinha, was delivering a statement at the 37th Session of the Human Rights Council on Monday (19) after the adoption of the final report of Sri Lanka’s review under the 3rd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, which took place in November 2017.
He stated that out of the 253 recommendations that Sri Lanka received during the very constructive dialogue last November, Sri Lanka accepted 177 recommendations along with 12 voluntary pledges.
“We have also taken due note of the remaining recommendations made by member states, and we express appreciation to all delegations for their active participation in Sri Lanka’s review and their valuable recommendations,” he said.
He said that Sri Lanka is a strong supporter of the UPR process and that its peer review nature allows for open and constructive engagement that encourages countries to address important issues relating to human rights, and to learn from each other. “Sri Lanka remains firm in its commitment to this process.”
He said that with technical assistance from the OHCHR, Sri Lanka is already in the process of exploring the best possible mechanism to put in place locally, for regular reporting and follow-up of recommendations emanating from the UPR process as well as other processes including the treaty body reporting and follow-up process.
Mr. Aryasinha also spoke about the recent incidents that took place in certain parts of the country targeting members of the Muslim community, who represent an integral part of the pluralistic society of Sri Lanka.
“These cowardly acts instigated by some organised groups and individuals who have no place in the democratic, pluralistic society of our country. Such acts go against our shared vision of a Sri Lanka where equal rights and rule of law are guaranteed for all.”
He stated that the government is determined to take action against all perpetrators of these incidents in accordance with the due process of the law. Victim compensation processes have already commenced; and arrests have been made as well, he said.
As a result of these incidents, he said, where it was discovered that social media and messaging platforms were being used not only to incite and spread hate and false messages but also to organise attacks, the Government was compelled to impose temporary restrictions on the use of social media.
All these restrictions have now been lifted. The Government as a result of this experience has now entered into active engagement with social media operators, particularly Facebook, to work on the prevention of hate speech, he said.
He said that what was heartening, amidst the disturbing incidents, were the acts of compassion of the peace-loving people of my country that came to each other’s help, and the public calls for unity and peace and the denouncing of hatred and violence by key members of the community – the clergy, community leaders, sports personnel, artists, and musicians – cutting across ethnic and religious lines.
In his closing remarks, the Permanent Representative said that Sri Lanka looks forward now to continuing to implement the recommendations and will do so in consultation and in cooperation with all stakeholders on the ground as well as the systems and procedures of the United Nations and those international partners that assist the country to reach its human rights and development goals.
(under the courtesy of adaderana.lk news web)