HRCSL gets tough on racism | Sunday Observer

HRCSL gets tough on racism

2 June, 2019

Human Rights Commission writes to BASL President, AG, about discriminatory practices, racially charged social media posts:

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) in a series of communications to the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), various public officials, and to the Attorney General has sought to flag serious concerns about professionals and public officials using their social media accounts to propagate racially charged material and commentary and racially discriminatory practices.

The series of communications from the HRCSL come in the wake of a decision by the Judicial Service Commission to interdict an Embilipitiya District Court judge for posting political content on his Facebook page.

In a letter addressed to the President of BASL, the Commission brings to the Association’s attention that it had been informed that members of the bar of Mawanella and Badulla had refused to appear on behalf of members of the Muslim community arrested post Easter Sunday attacks.

The HRCSL letter to the BASL also states that according to the reports received by the Commission, the Nikaweratiya Bar has protested when the police requested court not to grant bail for suspects of the May 13 communal violence.

“You would agree that such positions taken by learned members of the legal profession point to conduct that is seriously at variance with the expected standards of ethical and honourable conduct of legal practitioners engaged in a profession based on liberal values,” the letter states.

The letter addressed to the President BASL, Kalinga Indatissa PC and copied to the Minister of Justice requests the BASL to take corrective measures and appraise the commissions as to what action had been taken.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Observer reliably learns that the Commission has also written to the Attorney General, Dapula de Livera informing him to prevent officials of the Department from posting or disseminating racially biased or harmful content. According to the Chairperson of the Commission, Deepika Udagama in the event the Commission recommends that an action of such a public official has amounted to an infringement of the rights of a citizen the affected party can take legal action by way of a Fundamental Rights petition.

Pertaining to any future complaints the Commission would receive it will take steps to lodge complaints with the police on behalf of the affected persons.