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“Separate Act needed to address racial discrimination” – D. M. Swaminathan

(UDHAYAM, COLOMBO) – It would be more effective to have a separate Act to address the issue of racial discrimination, Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D.M Swaminathan said.

While pointing out that racial discrimination is covered through the Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Constitution of Sri Lanka, Minister Swaminathan said if Sri Lanka could have a separate Act on Racial Discrimination it would be instrumental to bring about a separate body which could monitor incidents of discrimination and act as a mediation body to resolve conflicts regarding racial discrimination.

Minister Swaminathan said this when he met Member for Bruce MP Julian Hill at the Australian Parliament yesterday. The minister and Hill discussed many issues including economic development, education and how to overcome racial discrimination in multicultural societies.

Mr. Hill pointed out that Australia has a Racial Discrimination Act to ensure that citizens are not discriminated based on their race and ethnicity in schools, places of work and in public.

He said this piece of legislation extends to media and social media, making it illegal to insult, offend and vilify other cultures and races.

“Even media has to adhere to the laws against Discrimination and if a breach is committed vilifying another race, action can be taken. The law also provides protection for free speech and political debate in Australia,” the MP Hill said.

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