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Leading News from Sri Lanka::

* Operations of Sri Lanka's key independent commissions hampered
Sun, May 2, 2010, 10:30 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 02, Colombo: Functions of the Sri Lanka's Human Rights Commission and the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption have been hampered due to the expiration of the terms of chairmen and commissioners of the respective institutions.

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) is currently unable to make recommendations on over 1,400 complaints related to human rights violations received in the first quarter of 2010 due to the non-appointment of a new Chairman and commissioners to the HRC.

The terms of the HRC Chairman and Commissioners expired in December and May 2009 respectively.

The HRC is another independent commission constituted under the 17th Amendment to the Constitution which has become defunct now due to the delay in appointing Constitutional Council.

According to HRC officials since the terms of the Chairman and the Commissioners expired last year, the HRC could accept new complaints but only carry out preliminary inquiries.

"We cannot make any recommendations. Also, policy decisions related to the Commission cannot be taken in the absence of a Chairman and Commissioners," officials explained.

The HRC head office has received 1,492 complaints in the first quarter of the year. Officials say the number of complaints may be much higher when those received by the HRC regional offices are added.

Meanwhile, more than 500 complaints of bribery and corruption have piled up since the term of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption ended in March 29 this year.

An official from the Commission has said they were unable to probe any complaints as there was no one to issue the directive.

Delay in reconstituting the has stalled the appointment of a Chairmen and Commissioners to these independent commissions which have to be made through the recommendations from the Constitutional Council.

The National Police Commission and the Public Services Commission are another two institutions that have become defunct due to the delay in appointing members to the Constitutional Council.

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