Human Rights First Aid Centres
Introduction about the Human Rights First Aid Centers (HRFACs)
Human Rights First Aid Centers (HRFACs) represent collaborative efforts by human rights defenders in local regions to swiftly address community human rights issues, provide defense, and encourage residents to assert and safeguard their rights. These centers are also involved in monitoring human rights mechanisms and organizing public awareness campaigns on these issues.
Aim The primary objective of HRFACs is to cultivate a cadre of well-trained human rights defenders who are ready to advocate for the protection of their own rights and those of their communities. They strive to empower citizens to independently address human rights challenges with minimal external assistance.
Principles HRFACs can be established in any community with the active involvement of a minimum number of interested individuals. These centers operate based on the principles of voluntary mutual support and fostering robust relationships within the community.
- Upon receiving information about a threat to an individual or a group’s rights, HRFACs promptly establish a supportive connection with the affected parties, demonstrating social solidarity.
- To gain a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by the individuals or groups involved, and to provide education on available solutions, support, and protection that the center can offer.
- Assisting in the preparation of complaints, affidavits, and other necessary legal documents as needed, with the consent of the affected individuals.
- Participating in investigations initiated by various institutions, supporting the victims, and monitoring the performance of these institutions.
- Informing affected individuals about governmental and non-governmental organizations that can provide the necessary legal, medical, and psychosocial support for future action.
- Conducting programs that offer essential training for individuals working within HRFACs, nurturing human rights defenders within the community.
- Designing and implementing educational programs tailored to the community’s needs, providing a fundamental understanding of human rights.
- Monitoring, documenting, and reporting human rights violations occurring within the community.
- Promptly notifying governmental and non-governmental human rights organizations about any violations and mobilizing their support.
- Publishing videos, books, and other materials highlighting human rights violations to foster societal education and awareness.
Practical Steps for Establishing HRFACs
- Initiating preliminary discussions about forming a human rights defender group with any interested organization or group in the area (with a minimum attendance of 10 individuals).
- Following agreement within the group, establishing a human rights first aid society, with at least 5 members expressing interest.
- Providing comprehensive training to volunteers who wish to become human rights defenders, starting with educating them about human rights and fundamental rights, legal actions for violations, and document preparation.
- Securing a permanent location within the community (such as a space in a community center or a designated room) for conducting activities, and organizing a group of volunteers to operate at least 3 days a week.
- Organizing publicity programs to raise awareness among residents about the services provided by the Human Rights First Aid Society (e.g., distributing leaflets, and displaying posters).
- Forming a regional committee comprising journalists, lawyers, and representatives from civil society to establish connections with regional offices, police stations, and government and non-governmental organizations.
- Interested parties can reach out for further information or to contribute to the establishment of such centers (contact us).
Let’s Take Action as Responsible Citizens!
During the time of our independence, we stood among the most influential nations in Asia. However, today, we face unprecedented challenges that cannot be easily overcome. Certain governments and officials post-independence bear responsibility for the present state of affairs. Simultaneously, as citizens, we must acknowledge our role in allowing the country to reach this point.
It is our duty, as responsible citizens, to take decisive action against officials engaged in illegal activities, including crime, violence, bribery, and corruption. Whenever we witness or hear of any unlawful conduct, we must act swiftly.
Let us stand up and take action. We have various state mechanisms to which we can submit complaints or reports.
1.Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka
Submit a complaint about a violation of your fundamental rights to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. The complaint can be made by going to the main office in Colombo or a regional office. Complaints can also be submitted online through the website www.hrcsl.lk . Also, call the 1996 hotline or 0112505580, 0112505581, or 0112505582.
2.Fundamental Rights Petition to the Supreme Court.
You can file a fundamental rights petition related to a violation of fundamental rights to the Supreme Court through a lawyer within 30 days after the violation. If you are a low-income earner, your complaint can be forwarded to the Chief Justice or the Bar Association of Sri Lanka through an affidavit requesting to file a case in the Supreme Court.
3.National Police Commission.
Complaints may be submitted to the National Police Commission regarding illegal acts including non-acceptance, distortion, or non-investigation of complaints by a police officer, physical or mental abuse including assault, verbal abuse, illegal arrest and detention, or false prosecutions by police. Online complaints can be submitted through its website npc.gov.lk, even anonymously. Also, you have the opportunity to contact the National Police Commission by calling 1960 hotline or 0112166500 at any time.
4.Inspector General of Police.
You can complain directly to the Inspector General of Police regarding illegal actions by police officers. Complaints can be made online through the extension “Public Complaints to the Inspector General” on the www.police.lk website. Apart from that, complaints can be made to the “www.telligp.police.lk”.
5.Freedom of Information Act and the Information Commission
Submit an information request to any government or affiliated institute under the Right to Information Act to get the information you require.
Many such organizations can be useful to you. Human Rights First Aid Centers (HRFACs) are operating throughout the country to assist you in getting help from them.
The Details of the HRFACs
Human Rights First Aid Centre,
Hotline: 0761 380 595
The Sri Lankan Collective Against Torture (SLCAT) is a national level network which consists 28 member organizations around Sri Lanka. The coalition is led by the Right to Life Human Rights Center and was formed with the aim of creating a torture-free Sri Lanka.Visit Us
Lawyers for rights
In 2021, the Right to Life Human Rights Centre established a Collective of Lawyers including the lawyers from rural areas who work for the promotion and protection of Human Rights. They provide legal assistance for the Human Rights First Aid Centres of the R2L and cater to the needs of the victims and survivors country wide..
Journalists for Rights
The “Journalists for Rights” was founded in 2019 to promote freedom of the press andethical journalism practice while addressing the professional rights of journalists. The Collective is registered as a Trade Union by the Commissioner General of Labour. Visit Us
Citizens for Justice
This collective of torture and human rights violation survivors work with R2L to reach fellow citizens in need to address their issues and uphold the human rights profile of the country.