Sri Lanka rights body facing collapse, watchdog warns

Chief Regulatory Officer at CSE Renuke Wijayawardhane presenting the listing certificate to Executive Chairperson at Renuka Hotels Shibani Thambiayah

Mar.30 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s independent human rights watchdog may collapse as the government has failed to replace the outgoing panel of commissioners, the Asian Human Rights Commission said Thursday. The Hong Kong-based AHRC said Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission will be without commissioners from April 3 because the island’s Constitutional Council, which is empowered to make appointments, is defunct.

The bipartisan council has been beset by wrangling between the Marxist JVP party and the minority Tamil party, both of which want to fill a single vacancy.

The council cannot function unless all 10 of its members are in place.

The deadlock has already resulted in the collapse of the national police commission and the judicial services rights offices.

Both commissions are responsible for the day-to-day administration of the police and the judiciary.

With the collapse of the independent commissions, the administrative powers have reverted to the police chief in the case of the police department and the chief justice in the judiciary.

The rights commission has sweeping powers to investigate allegations of excesses by the police and the security forces.

It is also empowered to inve