The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has called on Sri Lanka to ensure international participation in the accountability mechanisms as a necessary guarantee for the independence and impartiality of the process.
In a report on Sri Lanka issued today, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has also called on Sri Lanka to ensure international judges, prosecutors, investigators and lawyers participate in the accountability mechanisms in line with Human Rights Council resolution 30/1.
The UN Committee has also called on Sri Lanka to expedite the review and amendment of the Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crimes and Witnesses Act, to incorporate better safeguards for the independence and effectiveness of the judiciary and witness protection programmes, in line with international standards.
It also is concerned about the ongoing militarization of large areas of private land in the conflict-affected areas of the country, the usurpation of civilian administration responsibilities by the military, and the resulting large scale displacements of women and men in the State party, where 32 camps for internally displaced persons continue to exist.
It is particularly concerned that such militarization constitutes a barrier to the resettlement of internally displaced women, durable solutions for their housing, and their ability regain their livelihoods.
The Committee also notes that a Cabinet Sub-Committee was appointed in 2016 to amend the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act.
However, it notes that the Committee appointed by the Minister of Justice in 2009 to consider and propose reforms to Muslim Personal law and the Quazi courts has not issued any recommendations.
The Committee reiterates its previous concerns and, given that the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act imposes exclusive and compulsory jurisdiction over Muslim marriages, the Committee expresses its particular concern that it does not specify a minimum age of marriage and girls under 12 years of age are permitted to marry; restricts the legal and judicial officer positions of Quazis, Board of Quazi members, Marriage Registrars and adjudicators to male Muslims only; and that the law on statutory rape is not applicable to girls under 16 years of age who are legally married under Muslim law, who engage in sexual intercourse with their husband while not legally separated. (Colombo Gazette)
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