The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has said it was presently involved in the process of drafting guidelines with regard to the prevention and handling of custodial deaths.
It follows two recent incidents of custodial deaths reported from Pussellawa and Matara.
Chairperson of the HRCSL Dr. Deepika Udagama while adding that the Commission was presently investigating and inquiring into the two cases said that it was also important to highlight the need to arrive at a common understanding on the matter.
She said that the procedures and guidelines would be handled by the independent National Police Commission.
When queried as to whether the recent government announcement of a plan to install closed-circuit television cameras in Police cells was a solution to the issue, Dr. Udagama noted that the pros and cons of it must be studied prior with the intent of forming an informed opinion about the problem, before resorting to issuing guidelines.
She outlined that there was a need to balance aspects pertaining to the safety of the detainees along with the degree of privacy afforded to detainees, particularly in relation to the use of sanitation facilities that should be looked into.
She said that some would argue that the protection of detainees is of paramount importance as opposed to the granting of privacy.
“The HRCSL has issued guidelines in relation to the arrest and detention of persons under special laws. In the majority of the cases involving custodial deaths, the respondents are the Police. The Commission is there to ensure the rights of all parties concerned,” Dr Udagama pointed out.