Putting human rights at the forefront

The National Action Plan for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights 2017–2021 was launched at the Parliament Complex yesterday. Picture shows Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera presenting the first copy of the report to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Law and Order and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayaka was also present. Picture courtesy Prime Minister’s Media Unit

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday urged the media to voice the injustices done to journalists who were murdered, abducted and forced to leave the country under the previous regime.

Premier Wickremesinghe also pointed out that media at present does not speak of things which are worthy of discussion. He also requested the media to continue raising public awareness on human rights.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe made these observations at the launching ceremony of the National Action Plan for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights 2017-2020 which was held at the Parliament premises yesterday.

A new website was also launched by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as part of the action plan.

Addressing the gathering, Premier Wickremesinghe expressed his gratitude to Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera for his contribution to the launching of this National Action Plan when he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“I have appointed a committee comprising Cabinet ministers to oversee the National Action Plan. Another committee has been appointed under the guidance of Minister Sagala Ratnayaka. This committee should submit monthly progress reports on the programme. And the committee should sit every three months for review as well,” the Prime Minister said.

Speaking further on the National Action Plan, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said the present plan is a well designed one with no controversies.

“We will do our best to protect human rights in this country. That is one of the main objectives of this government headed by President Maithripala Sirisena. We need to remember that there was a time when people’s rights were compromised. There were issues in the judiciary system. The Chief Justice had to face injustices. The people were terrorized. Human rights were re-established when the present government was elected,” Premier Wickremesinghe pointed out.

The Prime Minister also pointed out that since the previous regime did not secure human rights, it paved the way for social injustice, racial extremism and religious tension in the country. The Premier also pointed out that a political power struggle should in no way have any influence over basic human rights.

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