Human Rights Defender Deepika Udagama quits as Chair of the Human Rights Commission
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission, internationally renowned Human Rights Defender Dr Deepika Udagama has tendered her resignation, a Parliament spokesman said.
Director Media of the Parliament Shan Wijetunge told EconomyNext that Udagama’s letter of resignation reached them today and that she will function in her office until September 1.
The Constitutional Council has accepted the resignation and issued a statement deeply appreciating her work and “elevating the work of the Council.”
Outgoing Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, and chairman of the Constitutional Council, noted that under Udagama the Sri Lankan Human Rights Council gained the reputation of being “one of the best in the world.”
Udagama and other members of the independent commissions of Sri Lanka created by the 19th Amendment to the Constitution by the last government are appointed by the Constitutional Council which is created by Parliament.
With a Parliamentary General Election due on Wednesday, August 5, the composition of the Constitutional Council is very likely to change.
The Council comprises the Speaker, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, one nominee each of the latter two mentioned and two civil society nominees.
Meanwhile, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who was elected in November with a huge majority has vowed to do away with independent commissions which he says has curbed his powers and hindered the implementation of his program of action to develop the nation.
Before her appointment to the HRC Udagama was the Head of Department of Law, University of Peradeniya and her specialisation is international Human Rights law. She is Sri Lanka’s alternate member to the United Nations (UN) Sub-Commission on the promotion and protection of Human Rights, and the UN Sub-Commission’s Co-Special Reporter on Globalisation and its impact on Human Rights according to her online biography. (Colombo, August 3, 2020)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana