A UN Special Rapporteur today urged the Sri Lankan Government to ensure that persons who have committed serious human rights violations are held accountability for their actions.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Ms. Fionnuala Ní Aoláin noted the important opportunity available to the Government to address long-standing and serious human rights concerns, in respect of fair trial, allegations of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, ensuring accountability for serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law, and redressing stigmatization and exclusion of minority communities.
She also welcomed, in particular, the commitment of the Government to review and repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act and to replace it with new legislation.
“As I have affirmed in communications with Sri Lanka the new legislation makes significant and commendable efforts to address procedural protections for rights, deepens access to judicial oversight, and provides for a range of important human rights protections, including a role for the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission,” she said.
She also encouraged the Government to continue its focus on legislatively enacting a tight and limited definition of terrorism, to ensure proscription is a limited and proportionate device, to ensure violations of human rights are speedily and effectively addressed and to enable full and unrestricted access to legal counsel and magistrate oversight.
“I also bring attention to reform of the Security Sector including full civilian control and oversight, and proportionate representation of all groups including minorities, as well as a fair and through vetting process to ensure that persons who have committed serious human rights violations are held accountability for their actions,” she said.
Special Rapporteur said that she looks forward to the ongoing work of her office with the Government of Sri Lanka and continues to offer her technical assistance to Sri Lanka’s endeavors. (Colombo Gazette)