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UN HR, terrorism expert to visit SL

UN HR, terrorism expert to visit SL

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson will undertake an official visit to Sri Lanka from 10 to 14 July to gather first-hand information on initiatives in the area of counter-terrorism and assess how they affect the promotion and protection of human rights.

"I will seek to provide assistance in the discussion of the country's counter-terrorism policy and legal framework, as well as in the preparation and drafting of relevant legislative acts, with a view to ensuring that measures taken by the government are in compliance with international human rights law," says Emmerson.

During his five-day mission to the country, Emmerson is scheduled to have high-level meetings with representatives of the government, including the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Law and Order and Southern Development, Justice, Defence, Finance, Media, Prison Reform, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs.

The Special Rapporteur will also meet law enforcement officials, members of Parliament, members of specialized Police departments, the National Police Commission and the Human Rights Commission. In addition, he will go to places of detention to interview persons suspected or convicted of terrorism related crimes.

Emmerson, who visits Sri Lanka at the invitation of the government, will also hold talks with representatives of the international community, lawyers, academics, and non-governmental organizations. He will visit Colombo and spend several days in other areas of the country, including Anuradhapura and Vavuniya.

Emmerson is the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and countering terrorism. On 1 August 2011, he took up his functions on the mandate that was created in 2005 by the former UN Commission on Human Rights, renewed by the UN Human Rights Council for a three-year period in December 2007,in September 2010 and again in March 2013.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures' experts work on a voluntary basis. They are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

(Ceylon Today)

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