Third Human Rights Workshop for Judges in Sri Lanka

The Foundation delivers Human Rights Workshop in the North Central Province in cooperation with the Judges’ Institute of Sri Lanka

From 26-27 October 2019, the Max Planck Foundation conducted a workshop in Anuradhapura, North Central Province of Sri Lanka in partnership with the Sri Lanka Judges’ Institute. The workshop was attended by 26 Judges of the District, Magistrate and High Courts.

The workshop commenced with a discussion on the foundations of international human rights law by members of the Foundation. This was then complemented by an engaging and interactive session conducted by Hon Justice Obeyesekare, Justice of the Court of Appeal, on the role of the judiciary, and in particular judges in provincial courts, to advance human rights in Sri Lanka. This was followed by presentations made by the Foundation on various aspects of international human rights law with a focus on civil and political rights.

The programme covered a wide spectrum of civil and political rights, including fair trial rights and qualified rights including the right to freedom of thought conscience and religion, as well as the prohibition on torture and enforced disappearances. On the second day of the workshop, the trainers examined non-discrimination, gender equality, children’s rights, and the rights of persons with disabilities. The protections afforded to civil and political rights were examined with reference to both international law and domestic law. Further, difficult issues around the implementation of these laws were identified and discussed. Throughout the sessions, the Judges considered case studies and came up with innovative ways to ensure access to justice and the protection of all rights, and particularly the rights of vulnerable persons.

The Academic Coordinator of the Sri Lanka Judges’ Institute, Hon Judge Seneviratne, Judge of the High Court in Colombo, gave closing remarks at the workshop, commending the judges for their excellent engagement in the programme.

This is the third workshop of six to be held in partnership with the Sri Lanka Judges’ Institute at the provincial level as part of the German Federal Foreign Office funded project, “Capacity Building for Judges and Lawyers in Sri Lanka“. The next workshop is due to take place in the Eastern Province on 31 November – 1 December 2019.