- Approval given to Public Security Minister’s paper
- Rambukwella says decision aimed at promoting national security
Cabinet yesterday gave approval to begin drafting legislation to ban face veils, a top official said. Cabinet Spokesman and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told the weekly Cabinet briefing that approval had been given for a paper presented by Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekera. “Cabinet approval has been given for the legal draftsman to proceed with formulating the necessary legislation. This was done as a measure to protect and promote national security,” Rambukwella said in brief responses to questions asked at the press conference. He also said the types of face veils such as the burka and niqab were not specified in the Cabinet paper.
The Cabinet paper was first presented in early March, just ahead of the crucial United Nations Human Rights (UNHRC) vote but was shelved. At the time Rambukwella said the Cabinet was of the view that such a sensitive issue should proceed with consultation of stakeholders including the Muslim community. However, there is no information available to the public to show such stakeholder consultation took place.
The Government has also denied that the ban is targeted at a specific community and insisted it was predicated more on recommendations made by multiple commissions appointed to investigate the Easter attacks in 2019.