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Human Rights Commission Initiates Inquiry into Aswesuma Social Welfare Benefits Program

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has made the decision to launch an investigation into the Aswesuma social welfare benefits program, citing numerous complaints filed by individuals and organizations. HRCSL Commissioner Attorney Nimal Punchihewa disclosed that concerns have been raised regarding the non-approval of benefits for eligible groups, questions about the fairness of specific eligibility criteria, and doubts surrounding the selection process.

Commissioner Punchihewa stated that the forthcoming investigation aims to ascertain the fairness of the guidelines and evaluate whether the selection process adhered to proper procedures. The decision to probe into these matters follows a surge in complaints submitted to the HRCSL.

Simultaneously, an additional 300,000 families have been deemed eligible for the Aswesuma welfare benefit, following a meticulous review of 640,000 appeals and objections. Acting Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe reported that the total number of families receiving the benefit has surpassed 1.7 million.

However, amidst the positive news, 5,209 families currently receiving the benefit have been declared ineligible, a consequence of objections and appeals. Acting Minister Semasinghe assured that payments for Aswesuma from July to December would be disbursed to the eligible families before the subsequent payment cycle.

The Acting Finance Minister acknowledged the receipt of nearly 1.1 million appeals and objections, pledging a prompt and thorough consideration of these submissions to ensure transparency and fairness in the Aswesuma welfare program.

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