Core Group on Sri Lanka calls for end to impunity

The Core Group on Sri Lanka has called for an end to impunity for the violations and abuses of the past.

Delivering a statement to the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, Montenegro and the UK, the Core Group on Sri Lanka called on Sri Lanka to ensure that the country’s democratic space remains open and accountable.

The UK’s International Ambassador for Human Rights, Rita French, speaking on behalf of the Core Group on Sri Lanka noted that in February, the Government of Sri Lanka indicated that it no longer supported resolution 30/1, which Sri Lanka had co-sponsored in a landmark partnership with the international community to address the harmful legacies of war and build a sustainable peace in the country.

“We reiterate our profound disappointment at this development. We remain firmly committed to advancing the resolution’s goals of accountability, reconciliation, and inclusive peace in Sri Lanka,” she said.

While the Government of Sri Lanka has stated its own commitment to advancing these principles through domestic processes, the Core Group stressed that any accountability mechanism must have the confidence of those affected.

Since March, Sri Lanka has been battling COVID-19, and has kept case numbers significantly lower than the regional average.

However, the Core Group noted that as stated by the High Commissioner for Human Rights during the ongoing Human Rights Council session, extraordinary measures to tackle the pandemic should not be used to roll back human rights.

“We share the concerns of Sri Lankan human rights organisations over the targeting and marginalisation of minority groups, the pardoning of Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake and promotion of others accused of serious violations during the conflict, and the militarisation of a wide range of civilian functions and public initiatives,” Rita French said.

The Core Group also called on Sri Lanka to ensure that the country’s democratic space remains open and accountable.

“We call for detentions and arrests to follow due process and be compliant with international norms and universal rights, for example in the case of lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah, who has now been detained for almost three months without charge or presentation before the court. We call for an end to impunity for the violations and abuses of the past,” the Core Group said. (Colombo Gazette)


  1. That’s quite a stretch blaming the UN for SriLanka not materializing on its potential as the Hong Kong of the Indian Ocean. Regardless, there are many differences between Hong Kong and SL; geography, physical size, population size, political history, etc. Hong Kong was under British rule until 1997; that benefited Hong Kong tremendously and there seems to be a large segment of the population that identifies itself foremost as Hong-Kongers and only secondarily as Chinese.

    Even bigger impossible stretch is that Gota could even emulate 0.5% of what Lee Kuan Yew was. Gota’s threatening and divisive presidential inaugural speech was evidence. Pretty much whenever he opened his mouth, the man’s shortfalls were evident. But surprisingly Lankans don’t see it; perhaps that has always been our biggest problem.

    If one has closely followed Singapore’s governance over the years, then the comparison of governance in Sri Lanka at any point in time never ever emulated Singapore; Singaporeans today would completely refute any resemblance of SL to Singapore politically. The unifying principles that made Singapore a success were never ever existed in Sri Lanka.
    Again, there are far too wide differences between Singapore and SriLanka for SL to ever become another Singapore. Both Hong Kong and Singapore are essentially city states.

  2. President Gota was right when he said it is always the “small nations” that are singled out for ‘special treatment’.

    Sri Lanka remains an easy target for members on the ‘gravy train’ of the various UN bodies to justify their positions.

    Holding the “Big” nations accountable, like the US for war crimes in Afghanistan or China’s ‘stomping’ of human rights in China has proved darn near impossible for the guardians of human rights.

    Unfortunately Sri Lanka is saddled; election after election, with the same morally and ethically bankrupt scum masquerading as law makers. And as a result, Sri Lanka’s potential as the Hong Kong of the Indian Ocean has remained a distant mirage.

    That is why it is beholden on President Gota to be the man he was elected to emulate : Lee Kuan Yu. And “brush aside” the parasites in parliament that are a millstone around the nations neck; address minority grievances, and unite everyone in this country. And the only way to do that is convince everyone that they will be equal stakeholders on the road to prosperity.

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