South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

hrc-srilankaThe Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) as the prime institution safeguarding the rights of people has issued guidelines for state authorities to protect the Human Rights Defenders (HRDs).

The Human Rights Commission as a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) noted that it has to perform as a defender of HRDs who act as the voice of vulnerable person or group or community to ensure universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The HRCSL said that it has serious concern for the protection of the HRDs and for this reason it has developed a guideline for the state authorities.

The Commission had held island wide discussions with number of civil societies in relation to strengthening the drafted HRDs guideline.

On 20th January, at the inaugural HRCSL meeting with the civil society committee for the year 2015 the Commission has presented the drafted human rights defenders’ guideline to be presented to civil society representatives.

As a suggestion made during that meeting, it was decided that the Commission will take measures to hold meetings island wide along with the HRCSL Regional Offices in order to promote the drafted HRD guideline.

On 10th July 2015 the HRCSL with the direct coordination of the HRCSL regional office in Anuradhapura held a meeting with the district civil society representatives in order to discuss the Human Rights Defenders’ Guideline and about further strengthening it. The Commission held another meeting on the 9th July at Vavuniya, 10 June at Trincomalee, 27 May at Batticaloa and 13th May at Jaffna.

Protection of the human rights defenders is a corporate responsibility of the state, the civil societies and the international communities, the HRCSL noted.

Conversely, the state authorities have a primary responsibility to protect the HRDs and ensure a favorable working environment where HRDs can operate free from any hindrance and insecurity.

The drafted 14-point guideline suggest the State authorities to recognize the activities of the HRDs to protect and promote all human and fundamental freedoms which are guaranteed by the Sri Lankan laws including the Constitution of Sri Lanka and International human rights laws.

The HRSCL said that there were a number of valuable comments and suggestions given by the civil society representatives in relation to the steps that should be taken in the future. They also pointed out the possible challenges over human rights issues faced by them.

Further the HRCSL has decided to hold a discussion with the state authorities before finalizing the document. Updated On: Jul 17, 2015,