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The National Action Plan for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights 2011 – 2016 as well as the full series of  Sri Lanka Rights Watch are available at the Peace & Reconciliation Website.

A couple of months back, I wrote in this series about the laws’ delays, but I was talking then of a very different sort of delay. I was referring to delays in the application of laws, the manner in which dates are given ad infinitum (endlessly) for cases, how cases are adjourned sine die (without a date, so that those who suffer have no idea when they can get closer to justice), that individuals are remanded with no idea for how long this might be. I wrote of women committed to custody who are forgotten, of children sent to homes without proper records being kept so they do not come to the attention of the courts again, of cases not taken up because some information the state should provide is not available, but those responsible are not told that they should supply this promptly.

I suggested at the time that the state authorities responsible should have regular coordinating meetings to ensure that everybody knows what is needed, and they prepare or produce as required, and keep each other informed of any delay, with a commitment to act by a fixed date. My view that such meetings should be held weekly – prompted by the horror story of the analyst who travelled to the East only to be told the lawyer was not ready – was shot down, but there was a commitment to meet once a month. I can only hope that this is happening, and that at least the practice of coordination to minimize inconvenience to the public is being implemented.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

July 2012
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