In a letter to the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has highlighted the importance of appointing a new Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) chairperson who is distinguished in the field of law and human rights and acceptable to a wide cross-section of the Sri Lankan community.

The BASL has written this letter to the President following the resignation of the Chairperson of the HRCSL Dr. Jagath Balasuriya.

The BASL noted that since its inception the HRCSL has been chaired by persons who have distinguished themselves in the fields of human rights and law.

“Prior to 2020, the Chairpersons of the Commission were Justice O.S. M.Seneviratne (retired Judge of the Supreme Court), Faisz Mustapha PC, Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Justice P. Ramanathan (retired  Supreme Court Judge), Justice S. Ananda Coomaraswamy (retired  Supreme Court Judge), Justice Priyantha Perera (retired  Supreme Court Judge) and Prof. Deepika Udagama,” the BASL stated.

The BASL further noted that the Chair of the HRCSL have been held by either retired Judges of the Supreme Court or those who have been renowned in Sri Lanka and internationally for their professional and academic work on human rights.


  1. ln May 2018, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka was designated an ‘A’status human rights commission by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights institutions (GANHRI) the global forum of National Human Rights institutions (NHRI). ‘A’ Grade status is based on compliance with the Paris Principles (1993) adopted by the UN General Assembly as the global standards by which the credibility and effectiveness of a NHRI is to be assessed.


The BASL believes that the President will consider these facts in submitting the relevant nomination to the Parliamentary Council.

The Human Rights Commission which was established by Act No. 21 of 1996 plays an important role in the promotion and protection of human rights in Sri Lanka.

The letter bears the signatures of BASL President Saliya Pieris PC and its Secretary Rajeev Amarasuriya.


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