News : Article

Roadmap for an effective national inquiry

Graphic: Participants take part in a mock public hearing

The APF has worked with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka to explore the key steps in running a national inquiry to deliver lasting change.

Commissioners, staff and regional directors from the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka recently took part in a four-day training program on the steps involved in a running a national inquiry that can deliver lasting change.

Across the Asia Pacific region, national human rights institutions have used national inquiries to investigate a number of serious and systemic human rights issues, including rape and honour killings (Afghanistan), Indigenous land rights (Malaysia, Indonesia), reproductive health rights (the Philippines) and children immigration detention (Australia).


This video is part of a suite of audio-visual resources featuring interviews with representatives from our members, as well as leading experts in the field


The workshop, held in Colombo from 27 February-2 March 2017, provided participants with a step-by-step understanding of the process to establish and conduct an effective national inquiry, includingEstablishing the terms of reference

  • Collecting evidence
  • Engaging stakeholders and the media
  • Developing recommendations
  • Writing the inquiry report
  • Promoting inquiry findings and advocating for recommendations.

Representatives from civil society organisations working on human rights protection across Sri Lanka were invited to join the Commission for one day of the workshop.

They worked together to run a mock public hearing for a national inquiry on access to education.

The inclusion of civil society organisations gave the Commission an opportunity to connect with a number of likely stakeholders in any future national inquiry. It was also an opportunity for civil society organisations in Sri Lanka to learn more about the national inquiry process.

The workshop also explored the ways in which a national inquiry could be used to build community understanding and support for human rights issues in a country.

The program was led by Chris Sidoti, APF Expert NHRI Consultant, and Brian Burdekin, Visiting Professor with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.

Date: 7 March 2017


Image credits

  1. Participants take part in a mock public hearing - APF/Kate Turner-Mann