Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle has announced the change of the penal code to decriminalize homosexuality. It follows United Nations' Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which allows member states to scrutinized human rights issues and make recommendations.
"Despite social, political and cultural challenges that stay with respect to reforming law, Sri Lanka remains committed to law reform and guaranteeing non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity," Pulle said.
Member states made seven recommendations. It includes the decriminalization of homosexuality and the fight against discrimination of LGBTQ people.
At present, same-sex relationships are punishable by 10 years in prison.
Executive Director of Sri Lanka's leading LGBT organization EQUAL GROUND, Rosanna Flamer-Caldera, said: "We commend our government’s commitment to reforming the Penal Code and amending the Constitution to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds of non-discrimination.
"No one deserves to be targeted by the law because of who they are or whom they love.
"Our government has shown significant resolve in pledging to address the criminalization faced by the Sri Lankan LGBTIQ community and guarantee them basic rights that have for so long been denied.
"Whether LGBTIQ or not, we are all entitled to the full enjoyment of all human rights. We look forward to the government fulfilling this commitment.
"We welcome the Government of Sri Lanka’s willing and continued engagement with the Human Rights Council and the UPR process and commend in particular our government’s commitment to the full realization of human rights for all citizens in the country.
"We are very grateful for the efforts of the international community who continue to raise their concerns over the treatment of the LGBTIQ community in Sri Lanka and greatly appreciate the recommendations that have been made today."
Sri Lanka could decriminalize same-sex relationships. Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the government is still opposed to homosexuality. So after the words, we want to see acts.