Massive staff shortage plagues human rights commission

Massive staff shortage plagues human rights commission

Massive staff shortage plagues human rights commission

Written by Hassaan Shazuli

12 Dec, 2020 | 10:51 am

COLOMBO (News1st): A massive staff shortage amounting to 83 percent had severely impacted the activities of the human rights commission by last year, a state audit has found.

“The scarcity of human resources can be stated as the main reason attributable to the long periods spent on investigating complaints,” auditor general W.P.C.Wickramarathne said in a report.

All 47 posts of human rights officers and five cadres for investigation officers had remained vacant by the end of 2019 due to the failure to approve a recruitment scheme.

“Twenty-one of the 22 posts of Legal Officer relating to the Inquiry and Investigation Division – a key function of the Commission,…had fallen vacant,” the audit found.

It observed that the staff shortage had resulted in excessive delays to provide recommendations over complaints, with some taking more than nine years – thrice the term of a commission member.

The human rights commission had spent between six months and more than three years to provide recommendations on complaints relating to school admission.

“Admission of students to the schools should be an expedited process. Hence, a burning sense of injustice was observed in regard to the complainants,” the report stressed.

It also noted that the education ministry, police, and pensions department had not implemented 87 out of the 147 recommendations made by the commission between 2016 and 2018.

The failure of the human rights commission to supplement its recommendations with sufficient information, and to forward them properly to the relevant officers were among the reasons for this issue.

Certain recommendations had not been in line with the laws concerning those respective entities and had not given consideration to the decisions made by the institutions conducting parallel probes.

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