19 September, 2020

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LG Polls: Human Rights Commission Issues Warning To Public Officers

All those who hold paid offices in the Republic are required to ensure that the forthcoming local authority elections are held in conformity with the constitution and prevailing laws, the Human Rights Commission (HRC) announced today.

Dr. Deepika Udagama

Dr Deepika Udugama, Chairperson of the HRC, in a media release also stated that her office “is vested with powers in terms of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Act, No.21- of 1996 to take action against such officers who violate these conditions”.

The statement reveals that “the Commission will take steps to monitor the conduct of public officers in order to ensure that the forthcoming election is conducted freely and fairly.”

The full text of the release is given below:

Secretary to HE President,
Secretary to Hon. Prime Minister,
All Secretaries to Ministries,
All Chief Secretaries to Provincial Councils,

Directives pertaining to activities of public officers and officers of the Provincial Public Service in connection with the Local Authority Election 2018

According to Article 170 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, a “public officer” has been defined to mean a person who holds any paid office under the Republic. lt has been further clarified in section 19 of the Penal Code” According to Article 4 of the Sri Lankan Constitution all public officers are bound to respect and protect fundamental rights declared and recognized by the Constitution” Under the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution all public officers have sworn to uphold the Constitution. According to Article 12 of the Constitution all persons are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of the law.

The right to vote has been declared a fundamental right by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. As such, when an election takes place all public officers in particular are bound to ensure that the election takes place in conformity with the Constitution and prevailing laws. Public officers vested with responsibility should conduct their official duties in compliance with such laws and act fairly and impartially.

lf public officers vested with legal responsibility misuse such powers and act beyond legal boundaries, or fail to perform duties which they are duty bound to perform or delay the performance of their duties without justifiable reason, such action results in violation of fundamental rights. Accordingly, when public officers violate fundamental rights, in that manner, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka is vested with powers in terms of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Act, No.21- of 1996 to take action against such officers.

Therefore, the Commission will take steps to monitor the conduct of public officers in order to ensure that the forthcoming election is conducted freely and fairly.

Accordingly, please be good enough to take steps to inform the staff in institutions under your authority to act bearing in mind the following:

  • To see that the law is implemented impartially and fairly
  • Non-implementation of the law, abuse of authority including use of powers in a politically partial manner (e.9., permitting some political parties and groups to use public property and resources in violation of the law) result in violation of fundamental rights. ln addition to state responsibility, officers responsible for such action/inaction would be held personally responsible for violations

This notice is made in terms of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Act, No.21of 1996.

Dr. Deepika Udagama
Chairperson
Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka

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Latest comments

  • 5
    0

    How about the warning for most effective areas, political parties, candidates (police and crime commissioners already included I guess)?

  • 4
    2

    HRC’s commitment for fair play in LG elections is admired.

    It’s learnt that this time polling centers are going to be the counting centers as well so there’s a possibility for local thugs/trouble makers to make impact to counting process.

    It’s clearly heard & visible in grapevine that one govt. faction thinks wining by hook or crook is a must for their survival as prosecution is a must for the other faction.

    So it’s vital to make all the precautionary measures to avoid misconduct/rigging in counting centers.

    So the general public seek full attention of election supervising bodies to thwart attempts by anti social elements.

  • 3
    11

    NO WAY. Who the Human Rights Commission think they are? The Chairperson has no right to issue a letter like this. There is a President, a Prime Minister, a Government and a Parliament elected by citizens to run this country. HRC has gone beyond its capacity. They have no right to issue a letter of this nature to public servants or politicians. There is an Election Commission to do that.
    This letter of the HRC is an undue interference of country’s governing mechanism. An organization funded by UN has no right to issue orders to government servants or politicians elected by the people. HRC can only act if there is any complaint about any wrong doing to an individual/group. Hello HRC, learn to stay within your limits, ok.

    • 1
      4

      EC has taken much better steps this time. Polling booths themselves turning into counting centers is a welcome move which is the best way to stop government from stuffing ballot boxes with pre-ticked ballot cards when transferring them to distant counting centers. Anyways, unlike last time each and every ballot box should be opened to show that they are empty.
      However, withholding postal vote results is suspicious without announcing the results the moment they are counted as was the practice.
      Again banning media from publishing election results from time to time will also arouse suspicion. One may assume it as a smart move to hide famous blackouts that happened twice in 2015 in the latter part of the announcement of final results.

    • 4
      0

      Champa, looks like HRC lost confidence in all you listed entities. Didn’t we have a Government, President and a PM when there was JVP insurrections, 1983 pogrom, LTTE war, disappearances, post war, Aluthgama etc.etc..etc…?

      I guess HRC has a role during the elections period in terms of guidance, not sure about warning.

      • 0
        2

        Human Rights Commission has no right to interfere in our country’s political system.
        .
        When the USA overtly interfered in Sri Lanka’s Presidential Election in 2015 and when Obama later boasted that they brought the regime change in Sri Lanka by using their influence, where was the Human Rights Commission? HRC should have called for a full investigation on the matter at the time. But they didn’t. It is not a matter of ousting the former leader, it is a matter of USA violating political and civil rights of citizens of Sri Lanka.

        • 0
          0

          Champa, you think HRC is there to jump in every now and then when someone utters something? Why couldn’t former leader appeal to HRC against Obama with evidence?

          • 0
            0

            Fathima
            Both John Kerry and Barack Obama made public statements. Why should the former leader go after paid officials of theUN? Did anybody appeal the HRC to issue this statement? Where was HRC at the time? In deep slumber?

        • 1
          1

          Champa yr statement that the US brought about regime change in Sri Lanka is nonsense. Explain how they did it?
          The US might have wanted a change in govt: since they were against the previous regimes foreign policy. But has very limited capability in implementing such.
          Is it your theory that they forced our people to vote?
          If so how?
          People seem to have forgotten that it was a considerable segment of the youth vote that put this gov’t into power.
          It is that very same vote that is going to surprise the people in power again.

    • 0
      0

      Champa ~ “…………Hello HRC, learn to stay within your limits, ok.”
      If in doubt ask Champa who is a potential UNSG.

    • 2
      1

      Ane Moda, Mannakkara Chimpo,
      Loke watetama naya wela thawamath hinga kana ratakat mona anagathayakda? Numbala wage minusun nisa thamai me siluma hena gedi paat wennw.

      • 0
        1

        anonymous
        The country need not to go on begging for a long time. Nobody can change the direction of the wind but somebody can adjust the sail easily.

    • 1
      0

      C.
      It seems like an urgent statement from the AG’s dept to clear this issue is necessary.
      The question also arises, can the AG’s opinion be challenged by the HRC.
      The elected representatives i.e. the Parliament is in a state of chaos.
      The President gets his “orders” from the cunning PM
      It’s a funny state of affairs, all related to local government elections which in most democracies the local people do not pay much attention to, and even unaware of the names of the candidates contesting.

    • 1
      0

      The HRC has to step in because the President, Prime Minister, the Government and the Parliament are not doing their jobs properly. Nature abhors a vacuum. Somebody has to step in and take responsibility when no one appears to be in control!

  • 0
    0

    I think the human rights what ever it is outside their territory. RAnil wicramasinghe is lieing to the public, while talking at election meetings, implying that he is not a thief exposed in the PCOLI report. He has appointed a accused from another report – Marapana – a national list UNP – MP appointed by Ranil to investigate whether the UNP are thieves as said in the COLI report which is the PResident’s work and report is investigated by eminent lawyers and written by EX – Supreme court judges. WHY HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION AND EC ALLOW RANIL TO LIE. Whoseresponsibility is this continuing of day light robberies by Ranil.

  • 0
    4

    Just ignore her. She is only singing for her supper.

  • 3
    2

    Hello Chompa
    Please find out if your uncle Modamulla Jarapassa is within the rights to dance between TWO PARTIES??
    President has warned that they cannot contest for 2 parties let alone the 3rd Party too.
    So this act of violation of electoral policies are not acceptable.
    Who will be responsible for this kind of Election violation??
    One may wonder?

    .

    • 0
      1

      Analyst
      What are you talking? It was the President himself who introduced the system – in your own words – “contest for 2 parties let alone the 3rd Party too.” Nobody said at the time it was not acceptable.

      • 1
        1

        Chompa is good at Spinning??
        Spinning around the facts are the name of the game of the Losers Modamullanas as well.
        Thats exactly they have been expertly doing the last 3 years since their miserable rejection by the general public.

  • 3
    0

    Dr Deepika Udagama, Chairperson, Human Rights Council of Sri Lanka
    Please take action on the item which appeared in CT of 21 January
    “Female Principal Forced To Kneel Down Has To Weep For Maithripala To Ask Errant Chief Minister To Resign From Education Portfolio”

  • 2
    0

    This brought to mind – How Gotabhaya R addressed political meetings when he was Secretary -Defence

  • 1
    1

    Vote JVP to put all.this right

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
    1

    In todays Lankadeepa we saw an Article where President mentioned his party’s achievements. in last 3 years If U N P was controlling the Economy how could President achieved all these.
    Do not get the credit for what U N P did.. This is like sitting on the Horn and eating the Ear

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