The Russian delegation at the UN Human Rights Council said that Sri Lanka should be allowed to address its domestic affairs without outside interference.
However several other countries, including the US, Britain, Norway, Ghana and Macedonia said that Sri Lanka must show more progress on its commitments.
The statements were made after the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein presented an oral update on Sri Lanka to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) today.
The United States, in its statement, said it will await the next update on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in March next year.
The US Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Keith Harper said that in the interim the US would encourage the government of Sri Lanka to make continued tangible steps in fulfilling their commitments reflected in Resolution 30/1 and elsewhere to credible justice, accountability, and reconciliation mechanisms.
Britain said much still remains to be done by the Sri Lankan Government to fulfil all the commitments it has made.
“These steps will require courageous and determined political leadership. More civilian land occupied by the military in the north should be released. The Government should repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act as soon as possible. We urge the Government to deliver on its commitment to devolve political authority through constitutional reform, and to put in place credible transitional justice mechanisms underpinned by meaningful consultations and effective witness protection,” the British delegation said.
Canada encouraged the Government to take an inclusive and coordinated, approach to the reforms to ensure the fulfillment of all of the commitments agreed to in the resolution, especially on the reconciliation and accountability processes.
Canada noted the progress made towards constitutional reforms, the establishment of the Office of Missing Persons, and the release of some lands in militarized zones.
“However, more remains to be accomplished, including in the areas of human rights and the rule of law. Canada welcomes Sri Lanka’s recognition that accountability is an essential component of reconciliation, and urges the Government to take concrete steps to ensure the establishment of an independent and credible accountability mechanism. We underline the importance of meaningful international involvement in such a mechanism to enhance its credibility, particularly for victims. Canada stands ready to assist the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that its commitments become reality as they are the foundation for long term peace, stability and reconciliation,” the Canadian delegation said.
In its statement, Macedonia noted that resolution 30/1 of the HRC contains 36 recommendations to the Government of Sri Lanka.
“We are fully aware that the processes of accountability and reconciliation require time, but the existing opportunity should not be prolonged indefinitely. On many occasions, the Republic of Macedonia emphasized that the resolution supports the actual Government commitments in building new Sri Lanka for the benefit and well being of all Sri Lankans. We would like to encourage the Government of Sri Lanka to accelerate credible investigations and seeking justice regarding the violations of Human Rights with appropriate forms of international support and involvement in accordance with the relevant paragraphs of the resolution,” the Macedonian delegation said.
Norway acknowledged the progress that has taken place in implementing the resolution on Sri Lanka since its adoption in October last year.
The Norwegian delegation at the UNHRC said that all initiatives for reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka should continue to be based on inclusive consultations with victims, civil society and the general population. (Colombo Gazette)