Harim Peiris

Political and Reconciliation perspectives from Sri Lanka

  • October 2012
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Archive for October 31st, 2012

A pro active approach to the rights review in Geneva

Posted by harimpeiris on October 31, 2012

The universality of human rights, adopted by the United Nations of which Sri Lanka is a proud and long standing member in good standing demonstrates its practical application this week, when Sri Lanka’s human rights track record is being scrutinized at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a mechanism where all the one hundred and ninety three member countries of the UN have their human rights track records scrutinized once every four or five years.

The universal nature of human rights is clearly spelt out in the UN’s universal declaration of human rights and its provisions are also basically enshrined in Sri Lanka’s own constitution, giving domestic effect to its international treaties and obligations. The counter argument to the universal nature of human rights is state sovereignty and the rights of a people to determine their own parameters in human rights. However, there are limits to which a state may go, especially in the violation of basic human rights. Accordingly even as Sri Lanka generally bristles at the thought of an international review of its own domestic action on basic rights, it still seeks to project the image of a state defending and upholding human rights. Accordingly members of the Attorney General’s Department and various other sundry government defenders will go to Geneva and claim, entirely unconvincing and in fact untruthfully that Sri Lanka is a sterling defender of human rights. Read the rest of this entry »

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