The visiting UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly has appreciated the fact that Sri Lanka was able to recover and ensure the rule of law in the aftermath of the April 21 tragedy, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.
It said in a statement that Special Rapporteur Clément Nyaletsossi Voule also expressed his condolences on the recent terrorist attacks that occurred in April.
Mr.Voule called on Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana at the Ministry on Thursday.
The minister said the freedom of association and peaceful assembly was guaranteed to the public under the present government which embarked on a new trajectory upholding the rule of law and democracy and engaging with the international community including the UN on the promotion and protection of human rights.
He said even with emergency regulations being effective, the rights of freedom of assembly and of association had not been restricted and observed that a number of protests/ trade union actions had been carried out in the country in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks.
The Special Rapporteur and his team attended a stakeholders meeting of relevant Government officials, chaired by Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha.
Representatives of Government agencies including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Sri Lanka Police, the Attorney General’s Department, Department of Labour, Ministry of National Integration, official Languages, Social Progress and Hindu Religious Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Board of Investment (BOI) and Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) participated at the meeting.
The Special Rapporteur will visit Colombo, and several areas in the Northern, Eastern and South Provinces of the country.
During his visit, the Special Rapporteur will meet government officials, representatives of civil society, trade unions and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.
He will also meet representatives of the United Nations system and other international organisations, along with other stakeholders in the country.
Following his visit, the Special Rapporteur will submit the Report of the country visit to the Human Rights Council at its 44th Session in June 2020.
The visit takes place on the invitation extended to the Special Rapporteur by the Government, at his request, in response to the standing invitation extended to all thematic UN special procedures mandate holders in 2015. S
Since then, Sri Lanka has received eight special procedures mandate holders and this year the Sub-Committee on Prevention of Torture visited Sri Lanka from 2-12 April 2019.
In addition to this visit, Sri Lanka will receive two more special procedures mandate holders this year -- the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief from 15-24 August and the Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity from 28 October to 8 November this year.