Media Center / Human rights and counter-terrorism: UN expert launches first mission to Sri Lanka

Human rights and counter-terrorism: UN expert launches first mission to Sri Lanka

Posted on: 06 / 07 / 2017

GENEVA (6 July 2017) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson will undertake an official visit to Sri Lanka from 10 to 14 July to gather first-hand information on initiatives in the area of counter-terrorism and assess how they affect the promotion and protection of human rights.

“I will seek to provide assistance in the discussion of the country’s counter-terrorism policy and legal framework, as well as in the preparation and drafting of relevant legislative acts, with a view to ensuring that measures taken by the Government are in compliance with international human rights law,” says Mr. Emmerson.

During his five-day mission to the country, Mr. Emmerson is scheduled to have high-level meetings with representatives of the Government, including the ministries responsible for foreign affairs, law and order, Southern development, justice, defence, finance, media, prison reforms, rehabilitation, resettlement and Hindu religious affairs.

The Special Rapporteur will also meet law enforcement officials, members of parliament, members of specialized police departments, the National Police Commission and the Human Rights Commission. In addition, he will go to places of detention to interview persons suspected or convicted of terrorist crimes.

Mr. Emmerson, who visits Sri Lanka at the invitation of the Government, will also hold talks with representatives of the international community, lawyers, academics, and non-governmental organizations. He will visit Colombo and spend several days in other areas of the country, including Anuradhapura and Vavuniya.

At the end of his visit, on Friday, 14 July 2017, at 15:00, Mr. Emmerson will share his preliminary observations with the media during a press conference at the UN building (202 Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7). Copies of his end of mission statement and press release will be available in English. Sinhala and Tamil translations will be also made available at www.lk.one.un.org. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report with his findings and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2018.

*ENDS*

SINHALA | TAMIL

Mr. Ben Emmerson (United Kingdom) is the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism. On 1 August 2011, he took up his functions on the mandate that was created in 2005 by the former UN Commission on Human Rights, renewed by the UN Human Rights Council for a three-year period in December 2007, in September 2010 and again in March 2013.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

Check the UN 2006 Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy

UN Human Rights, country page: Sri Lanka

For more information and media requests please contact:

In Colombo (during the visit): Ms. Julia Raue (+ 94 (0)11 2580691 ext. 240 / julia.raue@one.un.org)
In Geneva (before and after the visit): Mr. Sharof Azizov (+41 22 917 9748  / sazizov@ohchr.org) or write to srct@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)