The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed, will carry out an official visit to Sri Lanka from August 15 to 26, the UN Office in Sri Lanka said today.
Issuing a statement ahead of the visit, Mr. Shaheed said he would look at how Sri Lanka promotes and protects the rights to freedom of religion or belief.
“The visit will be an opportunity for me to have an open exchange with the government to try to gain a better understanding of how it upholds these rights. I also look forward to learning about the efforts of the government in developing and maintaining peaceful coexistence among different religious communities,” Shaheed said.
The Special Rapporteur will examine the progress made in the implementation of recommendations during the visit of the former UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Asma Jahangir, in 2005.
He will also aim to identify any existing or emerging obstacles to the enjoyment of the freedom of religion or belief in Sri Lanka by all and will present recommendations aimed at overcoming such obstacles.
During his 12-day mission, Shaheed will meet government officials, representatives of religious or belief communities, civil society organisations and the UN. He will also visit areas away from the capital, Colombo.
Shaheed will present a report with his conclusions and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in Geneva in March 2020.