The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed, will carry out an official visit to Sri Lanka, from 15 to 26 August 2019.
“I will look at how Sri Lanka promotes and protects the rights to freedom of religion or belief. The visit will be an opportunity for me to have an open exchange with the Government to try to gain a better understanding of how it upholds these rights,” Shaheed said.
“I also look forward to learning about the efforts of the Government in developing and maintaining peaceful coexistence among different religious communities.”
The Special Rapporteur will examine the progress made in the implementation of recommendations during the visit of the former UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Asma Jahangir, in 2005. He will also aim to identify any existing or emerging obstacles to the enjoyment of the freedom of religion or belief in Sri Lanka by all and will present recommendations aimed at overcoming such obstacles.
During his 12-day mission, Shaheed will meet Government officials, representatives of religious or belief communities, civil society organisations and the UN. He will also visit areas away from the capital, Colombo.
The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference on 26 August 2019, at 14:30 local time at the United Nations Compound, 202-204 Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7, to present his preliminary observations. Access to the press conference will be strictly limited to accredited journalists.
Shaheed will present a report with his conclusions and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in Geneva in March 2020.