From the 5 to 7 October 2023, the Max Planck Foundation convened the second workshop for officers of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) and members of civil society in Trincomalee in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. The workshop was attended by 17 officers of the HRCSL and eight representatives of civil society.
The three-day workshop commenced with an introduction to international law and human rights mechanisms. Building on the first session, economic, social and cultural rights, and their domestic implementation in Sri Lanka were discussed. The participants then explored challenges faced by different vulnerable groups in accessing the HRCSL. On day two of the workshop, three core economic, social and cultural rights were discussed – namely, the rights to health, social security and education. Finally on day three, officers of the HRCSL attended an interactive session on receiving complaints, conducting inquiries, and writing recommendations.
The workshops were implemented by Foundation Research Fellows and Consultants. The sessions built on the wealth of experience of the human rights officers and civil society representatives, and drew on insights from their work. For the first time, this workshop included members of civil society organisations involved in rights-related work, especially work relating to economic, social, and cultural rights. Furthermore, following feedback on the first workshop, the Foundation developed a module on writing recommendations, which was implemented on day three. These sessions explored the challenges faced by officers throughout the life-cycle of a case, from complaint to final recommendation.
This workshop was developed based on the Human Rights Commission’s training objectives and is the second of three workshops to be held in partnership with the HRCSL as part of the German Foreign Office funded project ‘Strengthening the rule of law and democratic principles in Sri Lanka in Times of Crisis’.