On the sidelines of the International Ombudsman Conference 2023, the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (Ombudsman) of Sri Lanka and Ombudsman Institution of Türkiye has entered into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 11 January 2023 in Ankara.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the Office Ombudsman of Sri Lanka and Ombudsman Institution of Türkiye signed in presence of the Speaker of the Parliament of Türkiye, Mr. Mustafa Şentop, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Türkiye, Ms. Hasanthi Urugodawatte Dissanayake, Justice (Retd.) K. T. Chitrasiri, Ombudsman of Sri Lanka and Mr. Şeref Malkoç, Chief Ombudsman of Türkiye.
The main objective of the MoU is to focus on the role of the two institutions in Sri Lanka and Türkiye in the field of protection of human rights and remedies for injustices while protecting citizens from injustice and discrimination. It further creates organizational conditions for cooperation between the two parties in the field of protection of citizens’ rights, complaints and other activities related to the tasks and purposes of the work of each party and thus contribute to the protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms within the powers vested by legislations.
Justice (Retd.) K. T. Chitrasiri, Ombudsman of Sri Lanka Parliament and Mr. Şeref Malkoç Chief Ombudsman of Türkiye signed the MoU.
The International Ombudsman conference 2023 under the theme “The future of Human Rights in the 21st Century” is funded by the European Union. More than 70 Ombudsmen participated from different regions Asia, Europe, Africa and Middle East and shared the legal framework of Ombudsman in their own respective countries and their insights on protection of human rights.
Delivering the keynote address at the Official Inauguration of the International Ombudsman Conference held at the Presidential Complex, President of the Republic of Türkiye, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated that “Human rights were one of the leading items on the global agenda, almost everyone, from local politicians to media, from academics to international organizations, talks about human rights and freedoms. The fundamental rights of people, including the right to life, are continuously violated.” Further he noted that “Crises that should bring us together and evoke our feeling of mercy can, on the contrary, sometimes draw people away from humanitarian values”. This was in the context that Türkiye hosts over 3.6 million Syrian refugees and over 400,000 other refugees while trying to address humanitarian issues emanating from the Ukraine – Russia war.
In the context of a recently proposal for a Constitutional amendment on the headscarf of women and the institution of the family submitted to the Turkish Parliament, President referred to the recent ban on women attending universities in Afghanistan, President said, "We find the recent understanding of preventing especially girls from being taught in universities and schools in Afghanistan un-Islamic. There is no such thing in our religion. These girls should receive education here. Islam does not accept such a thing. On the contrary, it recommends knowledge from the cradle to the grave ".
Further, a suggestion made by the Turkish Chief Ombudsman, after organizing a meeting with both Russian and Ukrainian Ombudsmen, proposing the Turkish Presidency to take the lead in working on a humanitarian corridor like it was done for transportation of grain, was accepted by the Turkish President.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
11th January 2023