The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, in a series of letters to public authorities, University Grants Commission, Chamber of Commerce and Judicial Service Commission, raised its concerns over rising human Rights plaints of wrongful refusal of entry to women to public and private premises and buildings due to their attire.
HRCSL Chairperson Dr Deepika Udagama last week issued letters to Public Administration Ministry, Health Ministry, Immigration and Emigration Department, all Governors of Provincial Councils, all Chief Secretaries of Provincial Councils, all Secretaries of Provincial Health Ministries and all District Secretaries calling for non-discrimination in enforcing security measures.
“The HRCSL has received several complaints from women that they were prevented from entering public premises and public buildings in the last two weeks. We are extremely concerned to receive these complaints and write to appeal to you to ensure that no one is denied entry to public spaces unless they contravene the law. In some instances, our concern is greater because we hear this wrongful refusal of entry lead to these women being denied essential services, Dr Udagama said.
The letters stressed the fact that that head covering of ‘Burqa’ and ‘Niqab’ of Muslim women and ‘full face’, ‘modular’ and ‘off-road’ helmets have been banned, where as ‘Chadors’ and ‘Hijabs’ worn by Muslim women and ‘half’, ‘open face’ and ‘Dual-Sport’ helmets have not been banned.
The HRCSL said that it is concerned to hear that many women who were attired in a manner that conforms to the said prohibition were prevented from entering private institutions, commercial enterprises, court premises, courthouses, public premises and public buildings.