Access to Information

Signage- Though accepted that all government institutions, particularly in bilingual areas, should have all sign boards, street name boards and official documentation in all three languages, the ground reality is that a number of government institutions do not display such nameboards or provide official documents in all three languages. For example in the Colombo district DS divisions such as Thimbirigasyaya and Kotahena are not implementing this policy to any extent recognizable resulting in sections of the minority communities receiving some of their most essential documents such as birth, death and marriage certificates in a language not their own.

Product Information- Pharmaceutical industry violations:
Another area of serious violations of language rights in practice, is within the pharmaceutical industry, where almost all drugs, equipment and medications are currently labeled only in English. Sinhala and Tamil consumers, who make up the majority in this country, when they purchases drugs have no idea of the quantities, dosages, side effects, alternative brands or other relevant information important to patients and caregivers. This adds to the inconvenience in government hospitals in the North and East in particular where some doctors, nurses and other medical staff too do not speak Tamil. So for a person who is already insecure, in pain and fear due to illness or injury, having to deal with ineligible information about medications is further misery.

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