Foundation implements third and final workshop on economic, social and cultural rights of Sri Lanka

The Max Planck Foundation facilitated the third and final workshop for officers of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) and members of the civil society from 15 to 17 February 2024. The workshop was implemented in Kandy, Sri Lanka and was attended by 25 officers of the HRCSL and two representatives of civil society organisations.

The workshop adopted an interactive approach and started by introducing participants to international law and human rights mechanisms. In the second session, participants were provided with an introduction to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), key principles relating to economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR), and their domestic implementation in Sri Lanka. In a practical exercise, the participants then considered the challenges and barriers faced by different vulnerable groups when accessing the HRCSL. On the second day, the participants explored specific economic, social and cultural rights in detail, namely the rights to health, education, and social security. This was followed by an exercise which required the participants to work through scenarios of ESCR violations, and how they may process such complaints within their mandate. On the third day, officers of the HRCSL engaged in an interactive session on receiving complaints, conducting inquiries, and writing recommendations. In a step-by-step simulation, they assembled the different components of a written recommendation in relation to a scenario that had been prepared by the Foundation.

Participants were from both the HRCSL and civil society to encourage and foster professional relations when it comes to work involving economic, social and cultural rights. Throughout the workshop, the participants worked collaboratively and were engaged enthusiastically in discussions. They utilised their existing experience on human rights to consider how to advance economic, social and cultural rights in their work.

This workshop series was developed in partnership with the HRCSL, and this iteration was the last of three workshops that were to be held as part of the German Foreign Office funded project ‘Strengthening the rule of law and democratic principles in Sri Lanka in Times of Crisis’.