The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has urged the Sub Committee on Law and Order to ensure that the Public Security Regime drafted to protect the people should be crafter in a manner that serves the best interest of the people.
Presenting the Commission’s proposals on the public security regime to the Sub-Committee on Law & Order appointed by the Constitutional Assembly in line with its mandate stipulated in the Human Rights Commission Act No 21 of 1996, the HRCSL said that while public security is essential, the public security regime should be in line with Sri Lanka’s human rights obligations, in particular Article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
The Commission provided their submissions covering four areas; Declaration and extension of a state of emergency, Judicial review, Derogation and Amendment of Public Security Ordinance.
The proposal underscored that a state of emergency should be declared only when the ‘life of the nation is threatened’- which is an ‘exceptional situation of crisis or public danger, actual or imminent’.
“The emergency must be actual or at least imminent – it cannot be of a preventive nature. The emergency should be of a magnitude so as to affect the whole country not just part of it. The very existence of the nation has to be threatened – this could be to the physical integrity of the population, territorial integrity, or to the functioning of state structures,” the HRCSL said.
The Commission also recommended the review of the Public Security Ordinance for purposes of reforming the legislative regime applicable to public security.