In an effort to relieve some of the international pressure being exerted upon Sri Lanka regarding allegations of war crimes, the country's human rights envoy, Mahinda Samarasinghe, proclaimed a five-year action plan for human rights protection.
The plan is to be presented at the UN Human Rights Council session in March next year.
Details of the plan were not disclosed, but a government statement said it would largely involve setting up committees to monitor implementation of existing laws and to ensure better understanding and respect for civil rights. (See AFP's report here).
Samarasinghe, who led the Sri Lankan delegation to the UN Human Rights Council last month, stated that the 'National Action Plan for the Protection of Human Rights' would have three objectives - 'the achievement of genuine and substantive improvements in the protection and promotion of human rights, promotion of greater awareness and the promotion of coordination of human rights activity among diverse stakeholders.'
Predictably, a government statement hinted that the plans would include the formation of committees to monitor implementation of existing laws and to reportedly increase understanding and respect for civil rights.
Samarasinghe added that the plan would cover civil and political rights, women's rights, economic social and cultural rights, labour rights, rights of migrant workers, the rights of the internally displaced and the prevention of torture.
See 'One farce too many' (editorial May 2011)