Colombo, Oct 5 (NIA) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsák-Ndiaye, will carry out an official visit to Sri Lanka from Oct 10 to 20 to assess the current situation of national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities in the country, the UN office in Colombo said on Wednesday.
In a statement, the UN said that during her 10 day visit, the human rights expert will visit Colombo as well as other locations in the Northern, North Central, Eastern and Central Provinces to meet with minority communities to hear directly from them about their issues and concerns.
The Special Rapporteur will also meet with a wide range of other stakeholders, including State authorities, the National Human Rights Commission and civil society actors.
“Experience has shown that the recognition and promotion of minority rights are critical, if not requisite, in achieving long-lasting peace and reconciliation, particularly in countries such as Sri Lanka that were once divided by ethnic conflicts,” Rita noted.
“Considering the long-standing grievances that were at the roots of the 25-year civil war in Sri Lanka, any efforts towards accountability and reconciliation must include a careful examination of the extent to which the rights of minorities are protected and promoted in the country,” she added.
Rita will visit Sri Lanka on an invitation by the Sri Lankan government.
She said that while she recognised the important advances made since the new administration was sworn in last year, the Sri Lankan government still faces immense challenges in terms of fostering unity, non-discrimination, peace and understanding among groups in the country.
She is expected to present her full report on her visit to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2017.