Recommendations and Advance Questions for Sri Lanka

Statement delivered by Ambassador Hans Brattskar, 15 November 2017

Mr President,

Norway welcomes the presentation of the National Report by the delegation of Sri Lanka. We note in particular positive steps towards mainstreaming non-discrimination and equality in the legal framework.

We would like to highlight four areas for improvement:

(Sri Lanka has made provisions for increasing women’s representation in local councils.) We recommend that Sri Lanka pursues sustained policies aimed at the promotion of women’s full and equal participation in decision-making at all levels of government. We also recommend the full incorporation of CEDAW into Sri Lanka’s domestic system.

We recommend that Sri Lanka develops a clear timeline and benchmarks for the full implementation of its commitments in HRC resolution 30/1.

We recommend that Sri Lanka takes concrete measures to abolish the death penalty.

We recommend that Sri Lanka ensures a safe and enabling environment for civil society and human rights defenders.

Thank you.

Advance Questions

  1. Norway is concerned about the use of torture by security and law enforcement agencies, as well as by impunity and the lack of an appropriate legal framework to address this, as raised by the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism (July 2017). In HRC resolution 30/1, Sri Lanka committed to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and to replace it with anti-terrorism legislation in accordance with international best practices. Progress on this is noted in the National Report (point 56). When will the Prevention of Torture Act be repealed and replaced by legislation that is fully compliant with human rights standards?

  2. Norway is concerned about the existence of legislation that contradicts principles of equality and non-discrimination. The National Report shows that Sri Lanka is considering reform of articles in the Constitution (16(1) and 80(3)) that allow for this. The National Report also says (point 33) that “The final report of the parliamentary Sub-Committee on Fundamental Rights, recommended that the Fundamental Rights Chapter in the Sri Lankan Constitution include express guarantees of non-discrimination on the grounds of disability, gender identity and sexual orientation.” Which steps will Sri Lanka take to follow up the report of the parliamentary Sub-Committee on Fundamental Rights with respect to non-discrimination?