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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 184th session
(Addis Ababa, 10 April 2009)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. D.M.S.B. Dissanayake, a member of the Parliament of Sri Lanka at the time of the events, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/184/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 183rd session (October 2008),

Referring also to the report on the on-site mission to Sri Lanka which the Committee carried out in February 2008 (CL/183/12(b)-R.2),

Noting that, at the session it held during the 120th Assembly, the Committee met with members of the Sri Lankan delegation, 

Recalling that on 7 December 2004 the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka found Mr. Dissanayake, then an opposition member of the Sri Lankan Parliament, to be in contempt of court for his criticism of an advisory opinion issued by the Court, and sentenced him to two years' imprisonment; he served his sentence until, in early February 2006, President Rajapakse remitted the remainder of it; Mr. Dissanayake nevertheless lost his parliamentary seat and, in addition, as a result of his conviction, was to be barred from voting and standing in elections for a period of seven years; that, given the serious doubts about the fairness of the proceedings against him, it has called on the President of Sri Lanka to grant him a full pardon, thereby restoring his civil and political rights,

Considering that, on 22 July 2008, the Human Rights Committee set up by virtue of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) expressed the view1 that the State of Sri Lanka had violated Mr. Dissanayake's rights under Article 9, paragraph 1 (prohibition of arbitrary detention), Article 19 (freedom of expression), and Article 25 b (right to be elected at genuine periodic elections) of the ICCPR and was therefore under an obligation to provide him with an adequate remedy, including compensation and the restoration of his right to vote and stand for election, and to make such changes to the law and practice as necessary to avoid similar violations in the future,

Considering that, according to the Sri Lankan delegation, Mr. Dissanayake has recovered his civil and political rights and was elected in the Central Province Council elections of February 2009,

  1. Thanks the Sri Lankan delegation for its cooperation;

  2. Notes with satisfaction that Mr. Dissanayake has recovered his civil and political rights, and consequently decides to close this case while regretting that he had to spend almost two years in prison on account of having exercised his freedom of speech;

  3. Emphasizes also that the United Nations Human Rights Committee has not only ruled that Mr. Dissanayake's right to vote and stand for election should be restored, but also expressed the need for changes to be made in the law and practice, and observes that, as a party to the First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Sri Lanka has a duty to comply with that Committee's views;

  4. Requests the Secretary General to inform the authorities and the source accordingly.

1. CCPR/C/93/D/1373/2005.
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