Since the Government took office, appointments to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) came under severe criticism including questions relating to the independence of the commissioners who were said to be close to the Government, Colombo based media reports.
The latest blow to the national human rights agency is the downgrade to ‘B’ status by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), a United Nations Institute of National Human Rights Organisation. This is not the first time HRCSL was downgraded. In 2007 during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Administration too, the agency was downgraded.
The current reasons stated by the Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA) of the GANHRI are pretty similar to the reasons it gave in 2007. It states;
“In view of the information before it, the SCA is concerned that the institution’s independence and effectiveness have not been sufficiently maintained in line with the requirements of the Paris Principles,” the SCA report said.
“The SCA is of the view that the HRCSL has not effectively engaged in and publicly addressed all human rights issues including allegations of deaths in custody and torture, nor has it spoken out in a manner that promotes and protects all human rights.”