The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) today called on the President to give leadership in calling for, and the Prime minister and all members of the Constitutional Assembly to ensure, the incorporation of Economic, Social and Cultural rights in the future constitutional chapter on rights as fully protected rights.
In a statement, the HRCSL said it is deeply concerned by moves by some to prevent the inclusion of such rights in violation of the principle that human rights are all inter-connected and cannot be divided.
“The HRCSL is deeply concerned by attempts made by some quarters closely associated with the current constitution-making process to prevent the inclusion of economic, social and cultural rights (ESC rights), such as the right to education and an adequate standard of health, from the constitutional Bill of Rights as full-fledged rights for which judicial remedies are available. It has been argued that only civil and political rights should be guaranteed as full rights.”
The Commission said as the primary institution charged with the protection and promotion of human rights in the country it rejects this artificial division of human rights and called on the Constitutional Assembly to ensure that the people’s rights are fully guaranteed in the future Constitution.
The HRCSL said the constitution-making process must necessarily recognize the views articulated by the public in the public consultations process (201G) demanding the constitutional protection of rights such as the right to education, an adequate standard of health, housing and fair conditions of labor in the future Constitution.
“Failure to do so is also a violation of legal obligations undertaken by Sri Lanka, particularly under the lnternational Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1956),” the Commission pointed out.
“Sri Lanka’s improving human rights record will be sullied by such a failure and would seriously undermine public confidence in the future Constitution,” the HRCSL said.