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​Commission calls for ESC rights to be protected

Graphic: School students outside classroom, Sri Lanka

Economic, social and cultural rights should receive the same protection as civil and political rights, the Commission said in a statement.

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has called on the President and the government to ensure that economic, social and cultural rights are fully protected in a future constitutional Charter of Rights.

In a statement, the Commission said it was deeply concerned by the position being advanced in some quarters that only civil and political rights should be guaranteed as full rights.

The Commission noted that all human rights are interconnected and indivisible.

"The constitution-making process must necessarily recognize the views articulated by the public in the public consultations process (2016) demanding the constitutional protection of rights, such as the right to education, an adequate standard of health, housing and fair conditions of labour," the statement said.

"Failure to do so is also a violation of legal obligations undertaken by Sri Lanka, particularly under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1956).

"Sri Lanka's improving human rights record will be sullied by such a failure and would seriously undermine public confidence in the future Constitution."

The Commission also emphasised the need to, among other things, recognise the promotion of social justice as a fundamental constitutional principle, and reiterated the importance of incorporating a strong system of checks and balances, including judicial review of legislation, to ensure the effective protection of people's rights.

The full statement is available on the Commission's website.

Date: 20 October 2016

Image credits

  1. School students outside classroom, Sri Lanka - Jean Louis Potier, Flickr; http://bit.ly/2ezOFGs