ECONOMYNEXT- The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion of Belief, Ahmed Shaheed is currently visiting Sri Lanka, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
The UN official’s visit runs from August 15-26 and began his activities in Sri Lanka with a visit to Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana on Friday, a statement said.
Marapana said that a number of special procedures mandate holders from the international community such as Shaheed have visited Sri Lanka as the government is engaging in an open and constructive dialogue with the world.
The minister said that the government has always appreciated engagement with Special Rapporteurs and taken their feedback positively, and offered full cooperation during Shaheed’s visit.
This is the 10th such visit by a Special Rapporteur to the country in the past four years.
Shaheed, while thanking the government for the invitation, said that there are difficulties and sensitivities following the Easter Sunday attacks.
He also appreciated how the government had made efforts to guarantee the safety of refugees and asylum seekers following the attacks.
The Special Rapporteur while thanking the Government for the invitation, acknowledged the difficulties and sensitivities faced by the country particularly in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday incidents. He particularly appreciated the manner in which the Government has taken efforts to guarantee the safety and security of the displaced asylum seekers and refugees following the incidents of 21 April 2019.
Shaheed will visit several areas in the Northern, Eastern, North Western and Central Provinces during his stay.
He will also meet with a cross section of religious leaders, representatives of the civil society, as well as with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. (Colombo/Aug17/2019)