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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.

I was sorry last week to miss the Nandadasa Kodagoda Memorial Oration for two reasons. One was because of great assistance rendered by his son Yasantha Kodagoda to Dayan Jayatilleka and our Mission in Geneva at sessions of the Human Rights Council. He was a pillar of strength in dealing with the Working Group on Disasppearances, when we decided, after I became Secretary of the Ministry of Human Rights, that we had to clear the backlog. Much of this related to the late eighties, and Yasantha had done much work on this in the mid-nineties when the Foreign Ministry had developed tried to respond systematically.

Unfortunately changes of regime and personnel led then to that system being forgotten, in yet another example of our national curse of not ensuring continuity when structures and people change. Another example was Yasantha not joining the delegation to Geneva after Dayan left, though I was delighted to find, when I too went back to Geneva in March this year, that he was once more on the delegation. He had also done yeoman service in preparing the National Human Rights Action Plan, especially in the final consultations we had in the Attorney General’s office when Mohan Pieris, in the midst of manifold other duties, took on the responsibility of preparing the final draft for Cabinet. And since then he has been extremely helpful, along with his colleague Shavindra Fernando, in the Task Force set up to expedite implementation.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

April 2019
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