A three-day Commonwealth Regional Seminar to improve the abilities of parliamentarians to promote and protect human rights in Asia commenced in Colombo this morning .

The event was organized by the Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), in collaboration with the CPA Sri Lanka Branch and is held under the theme “Strengthening the role of Parliamentarians in the promotion and protection of human rights”.

The seminar will conclude on February 03. The seminar would also result in proposals put forward to promote and protect human rights in the region. Members of Parliament, Ministers, and human rights experts from Sri Lanka and other Commonwealth Asia countries such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Maldives are expected to attend the event.

the keynote address at the event was delivered by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.  Participants will discuss the challenges faced in ensuring human rights in the region and consider practical actions to improve the situation by using their remits of law making and oversight of the executive.

They will also look at their relationship with the international human rights system, including the work of the Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review mechanism.

The Asia regional seminar in Sri Lanka is the fourth in the series and seeks commitment to a practical set of actions set out in a declaration as well as support for the establishment of a regional network of parliamentarians dedicated to implementing the declaration.