FR application filed seeking withdrawal of co-sponsorship of UNHRC Resolution

A Fundamental Rights application was filed in the Supreme Court Thursday seeking a directive to the Government to take measures to withdraw from the UNHRC Resolution it co-sponsored in September, 2015 titled ‘Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka’.

The Petitioner, Truth Seekers Movement (Sathya Gaveshakayo) Convener Attorney-at-Law Premnath C. Dolawatta states that his Fundamental Rights protected by Article 12 (1), 12 (2), 13 (1) of the Constitution are continuously being violated or caused to be violated by the Government co-sponsoring of this Resolution.

The Respondents are Minister of Finance (former Minister of Foreign Affairs) Mangala Samaraweera, Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ravinath Ariyasinghe and the Attorney General.

The Petitioner states that a resolution titled ‘Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ was tabled at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland on 29 September 2015 and was co-sponsored by the Government.

He says that by cosponsoring the said resolution, the 1st and/or 2nd Respondents and other delegates representing the Government of Sri Lanka at the UNHRC have given an undertaking and/or forwarded proposals to engage in several activities that are inconsistent with the Constitution.

The most serious among these undertakings relates to the establishment of a judicial mechanism with powers to investigate human rights violations and abuses and violation of international humanitarian law. The Petitioner states adding that as long as this remains in force the Petitioner and every citizen of Sri Lanka would be subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign judicial mechanism.

The Sri Lankan Constitution declares it a ‘free, sovereign , independent and democratic’ republic and the UNHRC Resolution infringes on the sovereignty of the people, especially subjecting the people and the country to foreign sovereignties and jurisdictions which would be amounting to unlawful alienation of sovereignty which amounts to violation of Article 3 of the Constitution.

The Petitioner states that personnel who served in the armed forces and State officials who served in the State machinery and engaged in activities in State security would continuously be subjected to foreign jurisdiction.

Several acts committed by personnel serving in the armed forces during the insurgency and/or terrorist violence or activities would continuously be placed at the risk of being judged with retrospective effect by application of laws which are not legislated by Parliament and were not in force/operation at the time of the commission of such acts which is deprivation of equal treatment before the law, the Petitioner adds.

The Petition wants the SC to declare that his Fundamental Rights protected by Article 12 (1), 12 (2), 13 (1) have been violated and declare that the 1st and 2nd Respondents by co-sponsoring the said Resolution have violated the Constitution and the sovereignty of the people of Sri Lanka and direct the Respondents and/or the State to take measures to withdraw from co-sponsorship of the said resolution.

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