UN Special Rapporteur to visit Sri Lanka | Daily News


UN Special Rapporteur to visit Sri Lanka

The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Ahmed Shaheed, is to visit Sri Lanka between August 15 and 26, the UN office in Sri Lanka announced yesterday.

Issuing a statement ahead of the visit, Shaheed said, “I will look at how Sri Lanka promotes and protects the rights to freedom of religion or belief. The visit will be an opportunity for me to have an open exchange with the government, to try to gain a better understanding of how it upholds these rights,” Shaheed said.

“I also look forward to learning about the efforts of the government in developing and maintaining peaceful coexistence among different religious communities.”

The Special Rapporteur would examine the progress made in the implementation of recommendations during the visit of the former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Asma Jahangir, in 2005. He would also aim to identify any existing or emerging obstacles to freedom of religion or belief in Sri Lanka and would present recommendations aimed at overcoming such obstacles.

During his 12-day mission, Shaheed is to meet government officials, representatives of religious communities, civil society organisations, and the UN. He is to visit areas away from Colombo as well.

The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference on August 26 at 2.30pm, at the United Nations Compound; 202-204 Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7; to present his preliminary observations. Access to the press conference will be strictly limited to accredited journalists.

Shaheed will present a report with his conclusions and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in Geneva in March, next year.

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