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Using ICCPR Act: HRCSL Issues Guidelines To Police On Hate Speech Law

Deepika Udagama

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has issued guidelines on application of Hate Speech Law to the Police for fair and effective enforcement of section 3 of the ICCPR Act.

Dr. Deepika Udagama – Chairperson – HRCSL

Sending a letter to the acting IGP, Chandana D. Wickramaratne, the HRCSL Chairperson Dr. Deepika Udagama said “the Commission observes that the enforcement of section 3 of the ICCPR Act has not been done in a consistent and an even-handed manner, and sees the need for greater clarity on the legal scope of the offence recognized by the said provision.”

We publish below the statement and the relevant documents in full:

The HRCSL is pleased to present herewith the Commission’s legal analysis of the scope of section 3 of the lCCPR Act, No.56 of 2OO7 (ICCPR Act) and its recommendations in regard to the provision’s application.

The Commission is of the view that section 3 of the ICCPR Act is an important legal tool in combating hate speech. As we are aware, hate speech has unfortunately become a common phenomenon in the country targeting various groups.

However, the Commission observes that the enforcement of section 3 of the ICCPR Act has not been done in a consistent and an even-handed manner, and sees the need for greater clarity on the legal scope of the offence recognized by the said provision.

The enclosed document containing the legal anatysis and recommendations of the HRCSL is a result of the Commission’s research on the scope of section 3 in light of relevant international jurisprudence, as section 3 is an incorporation of Article 20 of the lntemational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The analysis and recommendations were finalized after consulting legal practitioners in the field of fundamentalrights.

The Commission recommends that these guidelines are taken into consideration by the Police Department for the fair and effective enforcement of section 3 of the ICCPR Act. We would be pleased to provide clarifications, if necessary.

Source:Colombo Telegraph