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Civil society force is must be a huge pressure on HR and torture
“On 16 th of May 2018, Mrs. Sluari Liyanagama, Acting Deputy Director, Inquiry and Investigation Department of Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka stated at the gathering of the civil activists for the prevention of torture held at Renuka City Hotel, Colombo.”

The commission has the power vested in it by the law. Based on these laws the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) operates independently. Torture complaints are given priority and urgent requirements. In order to facilitate the people, hotline has been introduced.

According to the powers vested upon the commission, monitors are kept in the police and prisons. It is a measure taken to prevent torture. The commission has stated its position to the government and to the public regarding torture. Commission has instructed the police how they should act in a police custody. The president also issued orders regarding this; it has been informed to the police that lawyers’ assistance should be provided to them from the time they were arrested in order to prevent torture.

For the first time Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has submitted a report independently to the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UN CAT). The commission is currently investigating incidents that do not have complaints. 34 such complaints have examined in 2017. There are several torture incidents. A separate unit has also been set in to investigate human rights violations during the arrest.

The commission has established separates subcommittee in the areas of torture, disabilities, elders and sexual intercourse. This committee has been involved in civil society activities. These inquiries are being conducted on what the Commission and civil society can do about the findings of this committee. The Commission intervenes to reduce, prevent and eliminate torture and has complaints about officers and regional offices. The commission receives between 7000 and 10,000 complaints annually.

About 280 complaints have been lodged at the head office with regard to torture in 2017, 212 complaints have been received from Divisional Secretariats. The limitation of staff is affects a lot to swift  the investigation.

In most cases, we receive only the initial complaint. But more information is needed for the investigation to be successful. Information is needed to prove the incident. Need evidence. Eyewitnesses, Judicial Medical Records, photographs of assaults or scars (confirmed by affidavits) are essential. Civilians need to be aware of this. The commission will have to investigate complaints, which don’t have much information. Too much time is spent on it. Investigations can be expedited by giving proper information. Frequently inquired about the status of investigations. During the Second
Investigation Day, the police are summoned in present. It had not happened before. The victim should turn to the appropriate institutions. Officers such as Judicial Medical Officer should be shown properly. After the incident, we still have not given a proper place to the sufferings of the victims. It’s important.

Discussions are currently being held between the Human Rights Commission and the Judicial Medical Officers regarding the inadequacies of the presentation of victims to the Judicial Medical Officer. Magistrates should be aware of these facts.



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