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Last updated: 24 September, 2006 - Published 13:55 GMT
 
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Ignoring UN treaty 'unprecedented'
 
United Nations session
Activists say no other member state has refused to abide by UN rulings
A leading Human Rights attorney in Sri Lanka has accused the state of ignoring the obligations as a member state by refusing to accept UN rulings.

Senior attorney at-law RKW Gunasekara said Sri Lanka’s refusal to abide by the ruling of UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) was “unprecedented” in the history of the UN.

Sri Lanka is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

"When we signed the ICCPR agreement that meant not only the government but everyone in the country agrees to it. Ignoring something like this has never happened before,” he told BBC Sandeshaya.

Obligations to UN

The Former Chancellor of Peradeniya University added: "The government has neglected its duties to the citizens of Sri Lanka."

CJ Sarath Silva
Court ruled that ICCPR was not incorporated into the constitution

The counsel was commenting on the Supreme Court’s refusal to abide by the ruling of UNHRC to annual a prison sentence to Nallaratman Sinharasa, who was charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

As a result of a confession given to the police, Nallarathnam Sinharasa was jailed for 50 years.

After considering an appeal, the UNHRC ordered the Sri Lanka state to annul the sentence and release Singarasa.

UNHRC ruling

A five-member bench member chaired by Chief Justice Sarath N Silva last week rejected Singarasa's appeal to implement UNHRC ruling stating that the ICCPR was not incorporated into Sri Lanka’s constitution.

"If anyone thinks that they didn't get the justice through the Supreme Courts then they can go to the UNHRC and that is what Sinnarasa did" Said Attorney RKW Gunasekara.

In its judgment, the Supreme Court did not merely dismiss his application, but went on to make a fundamental pronouncement which said that ICCPR had no legal effect in respect of Sri Lankan citizens says the Free Media Movement (FMM) in a press release.


Based on confession

Illiterate Sinharasa's confession was written in Sinhalese and was given his thumb print at the bottom.

Even though the confession was refused at the courts he was jailed for 50 years for being involved in terrorist activities by the Colombo High Court.

From the perspective if the protection of freedom of expression and the media in Sri Lanka, this judgement is a regrettable and a regressive step sates FMM.

 
 
LOCAL LINKS
UN ruling 'not binding' in Lanka
15 September, 2006 | Sandeshaya
UN 'violating' Sri Lanka constitution
05 December, 2005 | Sandeshaya
Supreme Court to consider UN ruling
29 November, 2005 | Sandeshaya
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