Sri Lanka

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has developed guidelines for state authorities on the protection of human Rights Defenders (“Guidelines for Protecting Human Rights Defenders”). A draft of the document was initially presented to the Civil Society Committee on 20 January 2015. The HRCLS stated that “The Protection of human rights defenders is a corporate responsibility of the state, civil society and the international community… However, state authorities have a primary responsibility to protect human rights defenders and ensure an environment where they can operate free from any hindrance and insecurity”.
Although it was a positive development, the actual Guidelines and related news are not published in the HRCSL website any more* , and there are no further references to these Guidelines in subsequent annual reports of the HRCSL.

These duties included**, among others, the obligation to:

  • Recognise the activities of HRDs to promote and protect human rights without discrimination, taking gender into account;
  • Respect and protect HRDs’ rights, such as the freedom of association, speech, movement, etc. (as set out in the Constitution);
  • Avoid the criminalisation of the lawful activities of HRDs, unlawful arrests and degrading treatment;
  • Provide effective protection for HRDs, including timely and effective protection measures;
  • Ensure HRDs are able to lodge complaints directly with the relevant authorities;
  • Strengthen coordination with state authorities;
  • Promote and train state officials; and
  • Allocate adequate resources for effective implementation.

** Extracted from the originally published document

(Updated: 06/2021)

Asia Pacific Forum
In 2015, guidelines were developed by the Commission in recognition of its role as a national human rights institution to...