National Human Rights Action Plan on the web
Sri Lanka’s National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (NHRAP) was published on the internet today (10 December 2012).
December 10 also marks Human Rights Day which is observed each year to commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948. Human Rights Day originated in 1950 when the UN General Assembly invited all nations to observe December 10 as Human Rights Day by way of its resolution 423(V).
The NHRAP was conceived of as part of Sri Lanka’s participation in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process before the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2008. One of the main pledges made was to adopt and implement a national plan of action that would encapsulate all national efforts towards improvement in human rights promotion and protection in the country. This initiative, which commenced in 2008, involved all stakeholders in the process of preparation and a final text was presented to the Cabinet of Ministers in September 2011. Thereupon, Cabinet granted its approval for the NHRAP and also the process of implementation, coordination and monitoring in December 2011. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe who oversaw the process of preparation as the then Minister for Human Rights until 2010, has been granted the responsibility by Cabinet, of coordinating and monitoring of implementation of the NHRAP. The process of implementation is nearing 12 months since inception. The Minister will oversee a review of progress at the end of the year together with the approximately 50 agencies of government that are responsible for implementation. The NHRAP is of a 5 year duration and relevant activities are expected to be complete by 2016.
On the occasion of Human Rights Day 2012, Minister Samarasinghe who now holds the portfolio of Plantation Industries and is also the Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights, has decided to make the text of the NHRAP available to all interested parties so that a broader awareness of national initiatives in the sphere of human rights is created. It is expected that the Plan – made available in Sinhala, Tamil and English – will help generate greater interest in human rights issues, inspire national, regional and community level projects and initiatives supportive of the national endeavour. Sri Lanka which participated in its second UPR process in Geneva in November 2012, outlined progress made to date and underscored the importance of the NHRAP in the promotion and protection of human rights as well as contributing towards reconciliation and peace-building initiatives of the Government.
The Action Plan can be viewed in full at http://www.hractionplan.gov.lk .