In report on Sri Lanka UN rights chief calls for tough action

In a report on Sri Lanka by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights which was made public today, tough action has been proposed over Sri Lanka’s failure to meet some of its commitments to the UN Human Rights Council.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet will formally present the report to the UN Human Rights Council on March 20 and discuss the report with member states.

The report notes that in 2015, by co-sponsoring Human Rights Council resolution 30/1, the Government of Sri Lanka recognized the need to address the past in order to build a brighter future, grounded in accountability, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

However, the report says the lack of decisive steps to that end, and of appropriate communication, has generated widespread frustration.

“The lack of progress shows that the situation of human rights in Sri Lanka should
remain firmly on the agenda of the Human Rights Council. The High Commissioner
therefore urges the Council to remain closely engaged with the Government of Sri
Lanka and to continue to monitor developments in the country,” the report said.

The High Commissioner has recommended that Member States urge the Human Rights Council to continue its close engagement with the Government of Sri Lanka and to monitor developments in the country, investigate and prosecute, wherever possible, in particular in accordance with universal jurisdiction principles, those allegedly responsible for such violations as torture, enforced disappearance, war crimes or crimes against humanity; and explore other options to advance accountability in the absence of credible domestic processes.

The UN Human Rights Council has also been urged continue to accompany the people of Sri Lanka in their efforts to address past human rights violations by supporting the establishment of adequate systems of accountability, justice and reconciliation.

Sri Lanka has been urged to invite the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to establish a full-fledged country office to monitor the situation of human rights in Sri Lanka, to advise on the implementation of the recommendations made by the High Commissioner, the Human Rights Council and other human rights mechanisms, and to provide technical assistance. (Colombo Gazette)

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