By Lakmal Sooriyagoda
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has decided to amend the Human Rights Commission Act, empowering the Commission to file Contempt of Court cases before High Courts against the public officers who did not comply with the Commission’s recommendations, the HRCSL said yesterday.
Justice Priyantha Perera, the Chairman of the HRCSL, said the prevailing law had restricted the Commission to make recommendations due to the ineffective provisions of the Act.
According to the prevailing law, if a person does not comply with the recommendations, the Commission has to report to the President and subsequently to the Parliament. It is a long process.
“On the other hand if our recommendations are not carried out, we summon persons before the Chairman and ask them to give reasons for non-complying with recommendations,” the Chairman said.
Justice Priyantha Perera said subsequent to the new amendments, the public officers who do not comply with recommendations could be charged with Contempt of Court before High Courts and they would be liable for an imprisonment or a fine.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Commissioner Dr. Prathibha Mahanamahewa said the HRCSL had sent directives to the prison authorities directing it to take necessary action to solve the overcrowding issue in the prisons. He further said the commission had submitted a proposal to the United Nations Open-Ended Working Group on creating a new UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons.
The HRCSL had convened a media conference to make journalists aware of the role played by the Commission in developing and empowering human rights in the country. Human Rights Commissioners Jezima Ismail, T.E. Ananda Raja, and Dr. Bernard de Zoysa were also present at the event.