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UN minorities rights expert to visit Sri Lanka to assess current situation

ECONOMYNEXT – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsák-Ndiaye will visit Sri Lanka next week to assess the current situation of national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities in the country.

During her 10-day mission from 10-20 October 2016, the human rights expert will visit Colombo, as well as other locations in the Northern, North Central, Eastern and Central Provinces, a UN statement said.

She will meet with minority communities to hear directly from them about their issues and concerns, and also meet with a wide range of other stakeholders, including state authorities, the National Human Rights Commission and civil society actors.

Izsák-Ndiaye, who visits Sri Lanka at the invitation of the Government, is tasked by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise in the field of minority rights globally.

 “While I recognise the important advances made since the new administration was sworn in last year, the government still faces immense challenges in terms of fostering unity, non-discrimination, peace and understanding among groups in the country,” Izsák-Ndiaye said.

“My visit is intended to assist the Government and the Sri Lankan society at large in identifying challenges and solutions, as well as sharing experiences at this critical time for Sri Lanka.”

She said that experience has shown that the recognition and promotion of minority rights are critical in achieving long-lasting peace and reconciliation, particularly in countries such as Sri Lanka that were once divided by ethnic conflicts.

“Considering the long-standing grievances that were at the root of the 25-year civil war in Sri Lanka, any efforts towards accountability and reconciliation must include a careful examination of the extent to which the rights of minorities are protected and promoted in the country,” she said

Izsák-Ndiaye will present her full report on the mission to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2017.
(COLOMBO, Oct 05, 2016)

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