HRCSL lists six recommendations to President on issues in the North

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has sent a list of recommendations to President Ranil Wickremesinghe, based on their recent visit to the Northern Province.

Accordingly, six recommendations were proposed to the Head of State, concerning various issues including those related to long-term prisoners.

Pertaining to the long-term detainment of persons in the North, HRCSL recommended that the required measures be taken by the advisory board constituted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) , and that the Ministry in charge also propose a more suitable solution.

They also urged that the Parole Board recommend pardons or nolle prosequi (the termination of legal proceedings) whenever such measures are deemed appropriate, based on the crime committed and the behavior of the accused.

Meanwhile, HRCSL also recommended that a Truth and Reconciliation Committee be appointed with members of competency and integrity , and with the participation of the representatives of victims. They further urged that the committee be given the power to act independently without any political interference or biases.

It was also suggested that the border control by the Sri Lanka Navy be further strengthened along the coasts islandwide, in attempts to control the drug smuggling problem. “Permanent barriers and checkpoints are necessary for the North for the protection of civilians from habitual offenders and for national security and public order”, the HRCSL said, addressing their main concern – the disparity between the North and South on the security issue.

The Commission also shed light on the harassment faced by the people of the North at military checkpoints , including body searches on women and forcing passengers to alight from buses and/or unload goods from their lorries.

Thus, they recommended that the government instruct the respective forces to adopt alternative methods with immediate effect.

They also raised concerns that the identification pass system implemented for fishermen from Mannar is a violation of their fundamental rights, as it is discriminatory and is not in operation in any other part of the island.

Accordingly, the Commission is due to make recommendations pertaining to this issue following discussion with the fishermen, their representatives and relevant State authorities.

The Commission, however, made no efforts to address the land issues of the people of the North, despite this being a grave concern, on account of the fact that President Wickremesinghe has already taken the necessary measures to resolve the matter. – ada derana

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