Transparency Intarnational Sri Lanka (TISL) notes with regret that the President has continued to bypass the constitutional precondition for the Constitutional Council to be in office in order for independent commissions to be appointed in terms of the 17th Amendment, as evidenced by the recent appointments to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The appointments to the NHRC have been made unconstitutionally, ignoring mounting national and international opinion against such appointments.
Among those who were appointed were retired judges, who are well aware that they are appointed to these positions unconstitutionally but have shown no courage in declining such positions. Their acceptance is an indication of their lack of commitment to rule of law.
TISL however commends Dr. Deepika Udagama and Mr. N. Selvakumaran who have recently declined to accept extra constitutional appointments, thus not compromising their own integrity.
While taking a serious stand, TISL has no doubt that these new appointments have been made for a collateral purpose of satisfying the international community that Sri Lanka has a Human Rights Commission and not to achieve any legitimate objectives. These appointments are also contrary to the basic international principles governing independent human rights commissions including the United Nations Paris Principles which advocate for the lawfully created independent national human rights commissions, with integrity. It is fair to assume that those who have accepted such unconstitutional appointments can not function with any degree of integrity nor independence.
We call upon the President to withdraw these appointments and/or the appointees to resign from these positions forthwith.