No human rights violation complaints related to infrastructure projects

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“There are many accepted procedures that have to be followed to mobilize foreign financing for a particular project such as fact-finding, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, project designing, obtaining Cabinet approval and obtaining legal clearance from the Attorney General’s Department etc. Any citizen can make any complaint during this process as the government always looks for wider stakeholder consultation including the general public during the process,” the Government has said.The Government also noted that even after the commencement of the project, as per Sri Lanka’s legal system, the public is free to complain to the Development Partner, line Ministry or the Treasury, or even go to the Human Rights Commission or courts for any violation of human rights, involuntary resettlements or any other form of grievances. The Government says there have not been any human rights violation complaints related to infrastructure projects.In a response to a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council ahead of the 40th Session of the Council which begins later this month, the Government said that there have not been any complaints for the past 10-12 years. The Government was responding to the report by the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights. In its response, the Government said that it mobilizes foreign financing for infrastructure projects mainly from multilateral and bilateral development partners under the legal system of Sri Lanka. Apart from that, Multilateral Development Partners have a well- established internal justice system to seek redress for citizen’s grievances. Any adversely affected person can directly write to multilateral funding agencies and make a complaint.The Government said that according to records, the External Resources Department (ERD) has not received any complaint on human rights relating to infrastructure project issues during the last 10-12 years due to the stakeholder consultation process in place for all infrastructure projects during project preparation and implementation.The Government says it has recognized the importance of streamlining and strengthening current practice in a well coordinated manner in order to ensure social inclusion and equity. (Colombo Gazette)

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