Sri Lanka said it remains committed to law reform and guaranteeing non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity despite the socio-political and cultural challenges that remain with respect to reforming laws.
Responding to the questions and concerns raised at the third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Sri Lanka in Geneva on Wednesday (15), Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle said Sri Lanka was in the process of taking measures to guarantee the right to non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
He pointed out three key developments achieved in terms of protecting and promoting rights of the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning) community.
“One development is that the government is committed to reforming the Penal Code to ensure that all offences contained in the Code are in compliance with international human rights standards. The government is committed to ensuring that no provision in the law would be applied to persons of the LGBTIQ community in a discriminatory manner,” he said.
He also said the present constitutional reform process includes the consideration of the explicit guarantee of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Mr. Nerin Pulle said the Supreme Court has made a recent progressive pronouncement on Penal Code offences that may be applied to same sex sexual conduct. “In SC appeal 32/11, the court acknowledged “contemporary thinking that consensual sex between adults should not be policed by the State nor should it be grounds for criminalization.” While acknowledging that such offences are part of Sri Lanka’s criminal law, the court held that imposing custodial sentences would be inappropriate in cases where the impugned acts were between consenting adults,” he said. (Lahiru Pothmulla)