The UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Mónica Pinto told the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that more reforms are expected and necessary in Sri Lanka before the country can be considered to be on a path to sustainable democratization governed by the rule of law.
Pinto told the ongoing 32nd session of the Council that she will present a comprehensive report on her recent visit to Sri Lanka to the Council next year.
“I would like now to say a few words about my recent visit to Sri Lanka, which I carried out jointly with my colleague Juan E. Méndez, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. First, I wish to express my deep appreciation to the authorities for the invitation and the full cooperation extended during the visit. I am looking forward to continue our discussions, in particular during the drafting of my report which I will present to this Council next year,” she said.
She recalled a statement she made at the end of her visit to Sri Lanka which noted in that Sri Lanka is at a crucial moment in its history and that the elections of January and August 2015 brought an opening in the democratic space and led to some promising reforms, such as the re-instatement of the Constitutional Council or the new and fresh members of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.
“Yet, more reforms are expected and necessary before the country can be considered to be on a path to sustainable democratization governed by the rule of law. The momentum for fundamental reforms should not be lost,” she said.
She also noted that Sri Lanka has embarked on a difficult but necessary journey to set up transitional justice mechanisms to deal with its near past.
“In this context, considerations around the independence, impartiality and competence of judges, but also prosecutors and investigators, involved in these transition mechanisms must be adequately and swiftly addressed. Strengthening the independence of the justice system as a whole is also essential not only to contribute to guarantees of non-recurrence, but also to improve the population’s everyday experience with the justice system,” she added.
Pinto encouraged the Government of Sri Lanka to seriously consider the recommendations contained in her end-of-visit statement and to continue engaging with the international community and the Human Rights Council on these issues. (Colombo Gazette)