NSC’s Appeal to the Minister of Justice on Proposed Amendments MMDA

mmda feature 1

The National Shoora Council (NSC) wishes to welcome your initiatives to amend the MMDA, a
matter pending for a considerable period of time.

The NSC understands that a draft amendment to the MMDA is pending to be placed before
the Cabinet of Ministers. However we wish to request that the proposed draft amendment be
made available for the consideration of the Muslim civil society organizations including the
NSC, before being presented for the approval of the Cabinet, because the MMDA is a
personal law applicable to the Muslim community of Sri Lanka and obtaining the
community’s concurrence to the final draft would be the most democratic and transparent
process of amending the law.

The NSC is constrained to make this request in the light of certain amendments in the draft
said to be based on a recently State appointed Committee comprising of persons holding
office in the State and whose report has not been released to the Muslim community.
In any event, International Treaties which form a part of the international law have adequate
provisions which protect the human rights of these communities to live according to their
religions, culture and customs without interferences particularly from the State. Examples are
Article 27 of the ICCPR and Article 1 of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to
National, or Ethnic , Religious and Linguistic Minorities.

Article 10 read with Articles 9 and 4(d) and Articles 14(1)(e) and (f) and Article 27(15) of the
Constitution of our country, protect these rights and has mandated the State and all the
organs of government to “respect, secure and advance” these rights of the communities. The
Superior Courts of Sri Lanka have also held that changes to the personal laws of the
communities must be with the concurrence of the particular community.
The NSC wishes to assure you its fullest cooperation in this regard.
Yours faithfully

T K Azoor, Attorney at Law, President;
Rashid M Imtiaz Attorney at Law Secretary NSC.

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