ECONOMYNEXT- Passing the 19th amendment to the constitution is a landmark democratic moment in Sri Lanka, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, who visited Sri Lanka in July said.
“In the past 4 years, Sri Lanka has made great strides with regards to democratisation of the country,” Clément Nyaletsossi Voulé said in a statement following the end of his mission on July 26.
“A notable watershed moment in this process was the introduction of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which was passed in parliament by a two-thirds majority on April 25, 2015,” he said.
Voulé commended the reforms to the consitution which reduced the executive powers of the president and limited the terms of the office.
President Maithripala Sirisena’s office has meanwhile said that he wants the 19th Amendment abolished.
Voulé praised the reforms for reintroducing the Constitutional Council, which has powers to appoint members to independent commissions such as the Human Rights Commission, the Election Commission and the National Police Commission, and plays a role in approving the Chief Justice, Attorney General and Ombudsman, among others.
“Furthermore, the Amendment introduced a right to access information, an invaluable contribution towards democratic transparency in the country,” he said.
“All of these measures have created a more enabling environment for the protection of human rights and the right to peaceful assembly and association.”
“Everywhere I went, I heard repeated praise for the unrelenting work of the Human Rights Commission, which now holds an A-status according to the Paris Principles, in defence of all human rights for all,” he said. (Colombo/Jul27/2019)