The Commonwealth Secretariat has agreed to provide technical assistance to strengthen the effectiveness and authority of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.
A delegation of Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (HRC) led by its Chair Justice Priyantha R. P. Perera has met with the Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma at the Marlborough House in London Wednesday.
The Sri Lanka HRC group is in London to take part in a Commonwealth roundtable on reconciliation, being held at the Commonwealth Secretariat from 1 to 3 May.
According to the Commonwealth Secretariat, the roundtable is enabling several Commonwealth member countries that have sought peace and reconciliation after conflict and had to deal with the attendant challenges of such a process to share experiences.
Human rights institutions of Kenya, Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone and Uganda are also taking part in the roundtable.
The Sri Lankan HRC delegation includes Commissioner Prathiba Mahanamahewa, the Regional Coordinator for Jaffna, Thangavel Kanagaraj, the Regional Coordinator for Vavuniya Rohitha Priyadarshana, and the Regional Coordinator for Batticaloa, Abdul Careem Abdul Azeez.
During the meeting with the Sri Lankan delegation, the Commonwealth Secretary-General has focused discussions on the Commonwealth's plans to support the Sri Lanka HRC in achieving specific targets that the Secretary-General had identified in his statement issued at the conclusion of his last visit to Sri Lanka in February, and contact with the Human Rights Unit of the Commonwealth Secretariat thereafter.
"The goal of the Commonwealth's partnership with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka is to support Sri Lanka's national efforts," the Secretary-General has said.
The Commonwealth Secretariat and the HRC have agreed on two immediate areas of technical assistance, which are expected to be carried out over the next three to six months.
The Commonwealth will assist to strengthen the capacity of the HRC on effective use of national inquiries as a means of human rights protection, and to take forward an agenda aimed at national reconciliation.
Commonwealth Secretariat technical assistance in the two areas is part of strengthening the effectiveness and authority of the HRC of Sri Lanka.
The Commission members also discussed with the Secretary General the remaining challenges of land resettlement of people who had been displaced by conflict, reconciliation efforts linked to Sri Lanka's trilingual policy of Sinhala, Tamil and English, and the importance of an effective grievance reporting system.